A conference call is a telephone call where the calling party wants to have more than one called party listen in to the audio portion of the call. The conference call may be designed to allow the called party to also talk during the call, or the call may be set up so that the called party merely listens into the call but cannot speak.
Some conference calls are set up where the calling party calls the other participants and adds them to the call, and in some cases the other participants call into the conference call, either by dialing into a “conference bridge”, a specialized type of telephone that answers multiple calls, or by using a special telephone number set up for that purpose.
Conference calls can be used for entertainment or for social purposes, such as the party line. People call in to a specified telephone number which allows them to talk to others, serving as a way to talk to and perhaps subsequently meet new people. Conference calls are most commonly used by businesses.
Conference calls are used by nearly all United States public corporations to report their quarterly results, usually also allowing questions from stock analysts. The format of the call begins with a disclaimer stating that anything said on the call may be a forward looking statement, and results may vary significantly. The CEO or CFO, or the Investor Relations officer then will read a report on how the company did that quarter. Finally the call will be usually opened up for questions from analysts.