An in-person meeting has traditionally been the most effective, and reliable way to convene but with workforces growing and stretching across the globe, conference calls are more important than ever. If you’re a large group or small to midsize business, your unique needs require clear and concise communication.
Think of a conference call as a virtual conference table where everyone is available to participate in the conversation no matter where they are. Conference calls facilitate group collaboration and are a perfect alternative to meeting in person, saving you commuting time, travel costs and accommodation.
But how do you have a good conference call, one that is just as personable, productive and creative without physically being there? In this post, we’ll cover the top tips for conducting smooth phone meetings whether this is your first conferencing call or you’re looking for ways to improve every important call from here on out!
Be on Time and Organized for Starters
Just like any meeting held in person, punctuality is an expectation. Showing up on time or even just a little bit ahead of the scheduled start is considerate in many ways.
First, it gives you a moment to enter the meeting room and familiarize yourself with the settings. Take a look around to see where the mute button is and try out any additional features that might be of use during your call. See where the features you will be using the most are located; “Start,” “Schedule,” etc.
Pro-tip: Notice the hold music when you enter a meeting? This signifies you are in the right place and is a thoughtful feature that indicates to guests coming online that the call will be starting shortly.
Secondly, use these few moments to check your mic and speakers to ensure there are no technical difficulties once the conference call is in full swing. This will cut down disruption and awkward moments spent troubleshooting.
Third, practice a little “conference call” etiquette. There’s nothing more jarring than the crinkling sound of a bag of chips or the feedback from background noise. Have your headset ready, your laptop fully charged and any other items you might need on hand – minus the noisy snack! Having spent a few moments to organize yourself and your surroundings to be “conference-call-ready” will set you up to leave a good first impression or carry through with a productive meeting.
Are you presenting during this conference call? Hosting? Co-hosting? What is the purpose of this sync?
Once you’ve established your role, you can plan ahead and break down the conference call to be easily digestible for other participants. Knowing the reason as to why everyone is coming together, you can provide a dynamic meeting for the right people without delay or complication.
Consider which files will need to be shared during the conference call. Have them on your desktop ready to drag and drop into the call or hit the Screen Sharing feature to show participants exactly what you’re seeing on your screen.
When delivering your message, convey your thoughts clearly and present your findings or presentation with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Sometimes attention spans run short, so by having practiced your part of the meeting ahead of time, you can explain your idea and cut to the chase with ease.
Whatever your role, even if only as an observer, planning ahead to understand the purpose of the call and establishing the takeaway will ensure you pull off a seamless meeting every time.
Stick to the Agenda
Sometimes conference calls can lead to lengthy conversations, especially if you’re discussing high-level content, expressing opinions, brainstorming creative objectives, or presenting groundbreaking ideas.
To ensure everyone stays on schedule, consider creating a loose itinerary before the meeting. Send it out to participants a day or two ahead so that they can pore over what’s to come. That way, they will have a better idea of what to expect and they can prepare questions or be ready for feedback before the meeting.
Pro-tip: Prompt participants to write down any questions that arise and set aside a segment of time at the end to answer them. If time runs out, simply ask everyone to include their question in an email that will get answered and sent out later in the day. Or use the chat feature on your conference platform to share questions and comments in real-time.
Also, to help minimize going into overtime, perhaps it’s worth considering if your conference should include a video conferencing component. This could work well in situations where visual cues are helpful in making a decision like during a virtual interview.
Record the Conference Call
Next meeting, try hitting record to save now and watch later, and you’ll see just how valuable this feature is.
Capture everything that happened in the meeting for those who can’t attend a scheduled conference call. It’s a perfect way to go over the highlights, gain clarity, pick out little nuggets of wisdom or see how you got from point A to B.
When you record a conference call, you’re able to give your full attention to what’s happening before you. Make note-taking a thing of the past when you can be present and listen fully. Once the sync is done, you can watch it and pick and choose the important parts that affect you and your work.
Another benefit of recording; You get the full picture of how a decision was made. By capturing the meeting from start to finish, you have a history of the complete developmental process. No idea or comment gets left to the wayside. Every step of the decision made that got you to where you are is available at your fingertips to peruse and discuss.
Lastly, meeting recordings drive action to create accountability amongst participants. When projects and amendments are allocated to a specific resource, the recording provides details, and clarity and can be considered as a verbal “map and action plan” to get work done.
From here on out, there’s only such a thing as a good conference call.
The next sync you have, whether it’s strictly a phone meeting or enhanced with video, feel confident knowing you’re getting just as much from an online meeting as you would in person.
There’s no reason your growing workforce can’t keep the lines of communication wide open – anywhere at any time. Stay in touch with everyone from your immediate team to new hires to potential clients in all corners of the world with free conference call tools that empower you to stay connected.
Let FreeConference.com provide your growing businesses what it needs to produce good work, remain competitive, and keep communication easy to use. With free conference calling services and free video conference calls, you can stay tuned into your workforce, here or abroad using technology that provides top-notch audio and excellent video quality. Your virtual conference call table just got a whole lot bigger!