(Photo courtesy of Andres Rueda on Flickr)
Conference calls are an important part of everyday business life.
They are how certain companies communicate internally with staff and externally with suppliers and existing customers as well as potential new ones.
If done properly, conference calls can be extremely beneficial. However, there any many pitfalls to overcome to ensure they run smoothly and to plan.
Here are 10 tips to make sure your business stages productive conference calls.
1. Do plenty of pre-call preparation
As with so many things in the world of business, preparation is key. Make sure everyone who will be on the conference call knows when it’ll take place, what access numbers to dial and has an agenda of the main talking points.
2. Stick to the agenda
Once you’ve gone to the trouble of setting of agenda make sure you stick to it. Stay on topic and work through the various points that need raising in the meeting.
3. Make notes
Conference calls can drag on for a while so have a pen and paper to hand or your laptop so you can make notes on the issues being discussed.
4. Wait your turn to speak
With several people jostling to speak at the same time, conference calls can quickly turn chaotic, so make sure there’s some kind of order and patiently wait for others to stop talking before you to raise any concerns.
5. Keep call participants to a minimum
Don’t invite people to be part of a conference call if they don’t need to be on it. Common sense dictates that it’s a waste of time and resources.
6. De-clutter the meeting space
Stay alert, stay on topic and stay focussed, which means clearing the meeting space of any unwanted distractions. Close any open web browsers down to resist the urge to become preoccupied with something else.
7. Host the call in a quiet space
A quiet space = a calm environment in which to talk about confidential business matters.
8. Find out who’s who on the call
Make sure everyone on the call introduces themselves properly at the start of the call, even if you’ve chatted with some of the people on the call in the past.
9. Time is money
Keep the chat brief so that the conference call can be as productive as you want it to be. If new issues are flagged up then request time to go away and think about how best to resolve them rather than hosting a brainstorm over the phone as it could drag on for too long.
10. Make a list of post-call actions
Send round a list of follow-up actions to each of the participants on the call after it has finished so people have clear targets and goals going forward.