We all know what a pain it can be to make conference calls. Which is why we’ve found some nifty sites that take the stress out of multi-way calling and described how each of them works, so you can choose the right option for you:
Powwownow makes it easy by guiding you through a series of steps to help get your call underway. Once you’ve entered your email address, they’ll set you up with a personal PIN and a dial-in number. You can then schedule your conference call and invite whoever you want to call with the same PIN and number. You all dial in at the same time, with the same PIN, and each participant is announced as they join.
Features allow you to skip your name recording and PIN playback to speed things up, mute and unmute your handset, count the number of people on the call, lock the call to ensure no one else can join and even record the conference call.
While there’s no contract, billing or minimum uses, do check their call rates as they vary from place to place—and they’re pricier from cell phones.
Another popular conference call site, Rondee works very similarly to Powwownow, with the exception that it allows you to create your own personal memorable PIN (which always makes life easier). You can also activate a fully featured account at no additional charge, which means you can customize greeting tones as other participants join the call, record and save your calls and access a directory of who called and how long they talked.
If you only want participants to listen, you can give them a listen-only PIN and choose between making scheduled calls (Rondee will send invites and track responses) or just calling on demand.
Speek has really put its money where its mouth is by doing away with all forms of dial-in number, PIN codes and passwords. One of the most accessible conference call sites on the Internet, all you have to do at Speek is choose a personal link. This is yours forever, and it’s free.
You can then invite your fellow callers by sending them the link, which they can access from a computer or a smartphone. Once they’ve clicked the link, Speek will ask for their number, then dial them into the call. If you’re online, you can see who’s talking at all times and you can instantly share files, too.
4. Google Voice
What would this list be without a Google option? Once you’ve installed Google’s voice and video chat software, you’ll be allocated a Google number. All your participants have to do is dial that one number, and you can then accept them as their calls are connected one by one.
It doesn’t offer a way to invite your fellow callers, schedule calls or track who has responded to invites, but this can always be arranged over email.
5. GroupMe app
While GroupMe started out as a group messaging app, it also works brilliantly for voice calls, although (like Google Voice) it doesn’t allow for invites or scheduling. One phone number is allocated to each separate group you create, and this can then be used to either text everyone simultaneously or dial them all into one phone call.
You can download the app by going to www.groupme.com, where you’ll be asked to enter your cell number. They’ll then text a download link to your phone, and presto! You’re ready to go.
Amy Noble is a freelance writer, copy editor, proofreader and general grammar-obsessive living in London, England.