Organizing conference calls used to be a lot of trouble. It required a pay service, multiple telephone numbers and access codes (that were always changing), and the simple act of getting word out to everyone about the details always took more time than it should have. Times are changing. I recently started using freeconferencecalls.com for conference calls. It’s a great, free service that gives you a single call-in number and access code that never changes. You don’t have to schedule anything with the service. You just send out the number, access code, and time to your call participants and get back to work.
At first I just kept these numbers in my contacts list and used a bit of copy and paste when necessary. After doing this a few times, I realized TextExpander was a much better solution. I’ve now put together a clever little TextExpander snippet that sends out the conference number, access code, and date and time for the call.
I’ve also added a fill-in snippet for the conference call agenda and a pop-up menu for the estimated length of time. I find that if you give people an agenda and time estimate going into a conference call, you’re much more likely to stay on the agenda and complete it within the estimated time.
Now when I have a new conference call to setup, I just open up an email to all the participants, fire off the TextExpander snippet, and send it off. In addition to saving me a lot of time, I think it scares the other participants to the call just a little bit.
I’ve actually got two of these snippets because I have two freeconferencecall.com accounts. One is for the day job (which gets shared with other participants at my office) and the other is for MacSparky.
Here is the snippet in action: