Online meetings are integral to successful businesses. The beauty of virtual rendezvous lies in their convenience and cost effectiveness: members from around the globe can meet at a specified time and confer with one another without incurring travel costs.  A computer, microphone, and good internet connection are virtually the only tools necessary.  For some companies, videoconferencing, especially during regular business hours, is another option, as this alternative reduces the stress of having to identify members by voice or needing to acclimate to foreign accents. But for most businesses, conferring over the telephone is adequate—even welcome—to members spanning different time zones, some of whom are probably doing business in their pajamas.  Aside from using lower bandwidth, phone meetings benefit from audio indicators that eliminate the problem of users hiding behind anonymous numbers or usernames.

It is important to know the many important features of the teleconferencing system your business uses to maximize results. For example, Lync users should know the functionality that allows you to enable the audio announcement of each user’s real name to all the participants in the meeting upon his/her entry and exit to the meeting.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Create an online meeting.
  3. Select “Meeting Options”.
  4. Select “Audio and Phone” from the left menu.
  5. Tick off “Turn on entry and exit announcement for this meeting” (by default, this box is unchecked).
  6. To make this your default setting for all online meetings, tick off the box labelled “Remember Settings” at the bottom-left corner of the window.
  7. Once completed, select ‘OK’ and you’re done.

From this point on, all the online meetings that you create will have the audio announcement whenever someone joins and leaves a conference.  You can always turn this option off, if ever you wish to, by undoing the steps above, but now you know that you have this option.  This is a neat little tool from Lync that can help ensure the right members are in your meetings.  At the moment, there is only one type of voice and accent available to announce the names.  It is not clear yet whether Microsoft will decide to add the option of choosing, for example, a male or female voice and his or her accent.  But really, the current version works just fine.  I must warn you that while I enjoy having this option on during all my meetings, it can become a nuisance in larger meetings or when many users are expected to join the meetings late and their arrivals interrupt the current speaker.  Overall, however, it’s a decent functionality that can contribute to the overall success of your meetings.