The call must involve someone who is deaf or has a hearing or speech impairment.
Conference calls are those phone calls where (in addition to the relay officer):
- three or more people are involved in the call, and
- one of the people is at a separate place from the others and takes part in the call via the phone.
In other words, conference calls are really ‘meetings’ where at least one of the people involved in the meeting takes part via a phone call.
The NRS does not set up the conferencing arrangements or access numbers for you. That has to be done by one of the participants prior to the call.
Some call options are better than others
The primary NRS user can join the conference call using the NRS. Internet relay, a TTY call option, or Speak and Listen are the call options most likely to provide the best the best conference call experience.
Other call options – video relay, captioned relay and SMS relay – can also be used for conference calls, but these call options are difficult for both the primary NRS user, the relay officer and the other people in the call to manage within the conference call format. Even for those who prefer video relay, captioned relay or SMS relay for their one-to-one calls, internet relay, or a TTY call option, is likely to provide a better experience for everyone when used for a conference call.
Tips for your conference calls
Conference calls can be challenging for the relay officer who has to be able to identify and keep track of more participants than in a normal call. The suggestions below will make it easier for the relay officer to manage the call and therefore make the call more satisfying for everyone:
- The person ringing through the NRS should tell the relay officer that the call they are initiating is a conference call involving more than two people.
- The primary NRS user should let everyone else in the call know that they are using the NRS to join the call and that this might make the call slower.
- Each person in the call should identify themselves, eg ‘Lynne here’, each time they speak.
- Each person should say ‘GA’ or ‘go ahead’ or ‘I’m finished’ each time they have finished speaking and are ready for the others to respond.
- Only one person should speak at a time.
- Everyone should speak at a steady pace.
If you are the primary NRS user, the other people in the call are unlikely to have as much experience with relay calls as you. Therefore let them know that the above points apply to all participants in the conference call.
You might also want to suggest that they check out our tips on talking to an NRS user before they join the call.