Audio conferencing (meetinghouse)
All content on this page is moving to clerksupport.lds.org under the Meetinghouse Technology topic. This page will be deleted at the end of October.
Telephone audio conferencing allows leaders to replace some face-to-face meetings with virtual meetings held over the telephone. This is one of the simplest to use interactive communications technologies.
Audio conferencing is a service that allows many people from different locations to interact by telephone through an audio conference bridge. There is a telephone number that connects directly to the service. A pass code is required to join the correct meeting. In many regions of the world, there may be local or toll-free numbers that allow access at a reduced billing rate. A variety of vendors worldwide provide this service with minor differences in the service offerings.
Typical components of an instant meeting account for audio conferencing include the following:
- Personal dial-in number
- Security pass codes that are good for the life of the account
- Instant meetings without a reservation
- Access from any telephone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- A variety of pricing plans for local access or toll-free numbers in many countries of the world
- Separate pass codes for the host and participants
- The option to manage conferences by phone or on the Web
- A specified number of available "seats" in the meeting, usually 20
You may request additional capabilities, if they are required, at an additional cost. These may include the following:
- Specific reservations for the meeting
- Pass codes specific to the meeting
- Operator assistance and facilitation of the call
- Larger meeting size
- Ability to have the bridge dial the number of some participants to save them from having to pay for the call into the bridge
The local unit needing the service must establish an account with a service provider. The bill is paid for out of the same local account used for travel reimbursement or from the local unit operating budget. The leader with responsibility for that budget must approve the account and be the billing party for the account. The billing party will receive the monthly bills for the service and will pay the service provider directly for the service.
The price for the service varies by location and by services selected. Outside of North America, the area office can tell you what the prices are for service in your location. In areas where the local unit is not authorized to sign contracts, the area office must request the service for you.
Skype is a free alternative for audio conferencing. With a free Skype account, you can use the microphones and speakers in most computers to conference up to 24 people. If you purchase additional service, you can use standard telephone lines in the conference. All participants must have Skype accounts for this option to work.
Outside of the United States and Canada, contact the area offices for information about preferred providers who may have contracts with the Church to provide this service.
Usage tips and guidelines
Holding virtual meetings in place of face-to-face meetings is a new concept for many leaders of the Church. While virtual meetings can significantly reduce the need for travel, the change requires adjustments. Tips and Guidelines is a document available to help you make the change to this new method of meeting. These guidelines are for all kinds of virtual meetings, not just audio conferences.
If you are unsure about how to take advantage of this service in your local units, please review the usage models document for suggestions. Rely on your knowledge of your area, your leaders, and the reliability of your telephone service as you prayerfully consider your options.
If you would like to request a speaker phone, you can consider the following:
- Polycom VoiceStation 300 or VoiceStation 500 (for a small room such as an office)
- SoundStation2 or SoundStation2W (for a medium-sized room, such as the high council room)
You can select a good speaker phone from your local electronics store. Please contact your local facilities manager if you determine you need a speaker phone and will pay for it from your local unit budget. They will assist you in selecting and installing that phone.