Online conference calls can boost productivity and bring the team together. But the technical challenges and the whole planning might seem daunting at first.
If you want your conference calls to be effective and successful, then check out our tips below. Read on to find out 10 conference call tips that you should implement on your next call.
1) Plan and Organize Ahead
When you ask someone to join you in a phone meeting, you require a piece of their time. Everyone values their time, so it’s best to plan your meeting so it is as organized as it can be.
One of the most important conference call tips to remember is to be organized ahead of time. Even with a single participant, an unorganized meeting can stray off topic and fail its objective. When you invite multiple people for a conference call, it is absolutely crucial to organize and prepare an agenda of items that the conference should cover.
Prepare a list of all topics that you will discuss, develop an outline of the whole meeting and write down important names and dates for quick reference. Any material you prepare in advance will help save you from wasting time during the call.
2) Define Goals
Any conference call tips we might give you would be useless without specific goals. Businesses do conference calls for a wide range of different reasons.
Whether you are discussing your marketing strategy, succession planning or budgeting, you need to set clear goals for a call. You might be tempted to broaden the scope and let the call stray into various topics, but this can reduce productivity.
Instead, focus on specific goals for your conference call. A set number of topics that you should discuss in a fixed amount of time will get you the most out of the call.
3) Stick to the Plan
Call participants might have busy schedules and full timetables. As we’ve seen in the conference call tips above, you have to have a plan for your call.
While participants might try to take the conversation to different topics, you should stick to the plan and follow the goals you defined.
As long as you have a clear agenda and stick to it, the meeting will move on smoothly. Don’t waste time on personal anecdotes or idle jokes. Instead, focus on the relevant topics and try to stick to the scheduled timeframe.
Nothing disappoints more than having to extend a meeting because participants wasted time chatting about sports or other irrelevant topics.
4) Foster Participation
But how do you keep participants interested? Well, you encourage them to actually participate in the conference call.
When your participants feel heard, they will speak their mind more. By making sure that people feel respected and heard, you foster participation in the meeting. People who are not involved in the call might lose interest and whip out their smartphone, ignoring you completely.
Long silences can feel really awkward and make you look unprofessional. Avoid that by asking your participants the right questions. A good conference call can boost productivity and strengthen corporate culture.
Many conference call service providers offer features that can help you foster participation. These include surveys, polls and Q&A sections. As usual, it’s important to be prepared in advance if you plan on using these features.
5) Use the Right Tools
In addition to a phone or a computer, you will need some form of conference software. There are tons of different free conference call platforms to choose from. Most offer basic capabilities and require signup of all participants.
If you are looking for the best tools for your conference call, then you need to research some of the top providers, such as ConferenceTown.
Find out more about ConferenceTown, one of the best conference service providers by clicking the link above. In addition to all the usual features, they offer unlimited call time, free call recording, and up to 5,000 participants!
Moreover, participants don’t have to sign up to the service, as you can invite them directly yourself. This saves everyone time and effort.
6) Be Punctual
A conference call is still a conference. If you are planning a business meeting, you need to arrive early and be prepared to start in time. Punctuality is key when it comes to making a good impression.
Try to get into the call a few minutes before the scheduled time to make sure everything is up and running. Minor technical glitches that can be resolved within minutes can cause you trouble if you don’t find them soon enough.
7) Prepare Notes and Visual Aids
Preparing notes in advance is a great idea to keep the conversation going. You should also aim to keep notes during the call, especially if the conference is long.
Don’t be afraid to delegate minute taking to an assistant, as this will help you focus more on the actual conference.
Also, use visual aids to encourage participation and keep everyone interested. Try not to overdo it, as too many aids will distract instead of helping.
8) Deal with the Technicalities
Obviously, you need a working speaker and microphone. Make sure both work before going into a conference call. This is one of the most humble conference call tips, but it can be a real saver.
Also make sure you are in a quiet, secluded area. Don’t be tempted to host a conference next to other participants, as call and face-to-face conversations will mix and cause confusion.
9) Record the Conference Call
Most conference call services allow you to record your calls for future reference. You should do that.
A conference call recording can be a valuable tool. You can use it for reference, or to fill in people who could not attend the meeting.
10) Make it Short and Sweet
Finally, make sure you optimize every single second of your conference call. Attendees will appreciate a short and sweet call that gets things done.
Aim to finish the conversation a few minutes before the allotted timeframe. By keeping your meetings concise, you will gain respect, and your participants will look forward to your next conference call.
Liked Our Conference Call Tips? Check Out Our Other Business Advice!
So, you now know how to plan the perfect conference call.
If you liked our conference call tips, make sure to check out our business advice section over at What Your Boss Thinks!