Don’t put family reunions on hold. Conference calling isn’t just for businesses any more!

Once upon a time conference calls were so expensive, only the largest and wealthiest companies could afford them. Now, a number of free conference call services make conference calling easy for far-flung families that want to stay in close touch.

And yes, the cost for the conference line really is zero. Don’t ask me how these companies do it, but they can – and there are no strings attached. Of course everyone has to pay their long distance provider, just as they do when they call Aunt Martha anyway. That doesn’t change. What does change is the big, fat bill you would have paid a telephone company to set up a call for 3, 4 or 99 people!

Here’s how it works.

You sign up with a company that provides this service. I use this one:

They assign you a phone number that is yours to keep and use. No one else has that number. You won’t be asked to share a line with any other person, or make reservations, like some companies do. It really is yours to keep, as long as you want to use it.

You’ll also get two security codes. One for the “moderator” and one for the “audience.” That’s a hold over from the corporate days. No worries. Until you arrive, all audience members hear music.

When you arrive, the call starts and the fun begins. Everyone can talk to each other just as if they were all in the same room. Of course, as the moderator, you have the ability to go into “lecture mode” and silence everyone else. So you can announce your big news without any interruptions. Or just let everyone talk in “interactive mode.” Don’t get hung up on the terms, just think: I talk and everyone listens, or everyone talks! It is that simple.

When you are done, you just hang up and the call ends. It is as simple as that.

The phone lines are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without reservations. Just let everyone know you want to hold a conference and they show up. The line is good for up to 100 callers. Of course, if Aunt Minnie puts her call on speaker phone, everyone on that line can listen. So you could really have hundreds of people on the call if your family is gigantic! But only 100 telephone lines can call into the conference call.

You can even record the call on “telephone replay” so any family members who couldn’t make the live call can call in to the conference line and listen to the recording.

The only downside is that your relatives could become jealous of your free line. I’d suggest you let them know they can get their own free conference lines so they can have conferences with their families and friends, too!

Dan Janal is president of Great Teleseminars Audio Production Company that is a one-stop shopping center for experts and companies who want to conduct telephone seminars. He’s investigated all the free conference services to come up his recommendation: For more information about professional recording services, visit:

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