If you’re like most small business owners, you’ve had to host a conference call meeting or two in order plan or brainstorm with your team. You’ve also probably realized by now that not all meetings are as productive as they could be.
Sometimes employees show up late. Sometimes they are too sleepy or distracted. Other times, they don’t show up at all. It’s easy to wonder at times if it’s even possible to host a conference call meeting where nothing goes wrong.
Fortunately for you, a meaningful and productive conference call meeting is possible. At Callbridge, we’ve seen and facilitated enough meetings to know exactly what you should do to host the best meeting possible. All you need to do is follow these quick and easy steps:
Step 1: Have a clear meeting objective in mind before you do anything else.
Step 2: Create a conference call meeting agenda that is as detailed as possible.
Step 3: Send out detailed meeting invitations & follow up with your guests.
Step 4: Save unrelated subjects for later so your meeting isn’t derailed.
Step 5: Agree upon next steps for everyone in the meeting before ending it.
Have a Clear Meeting Objective
It’s easy to spin around in circles when you host a meeting to “go over project X” or “explore topics related to Y”, because you haven’t set clear goals for the meeting. Instead, how about setting a goal like “settle on a direction for the fall campaign”, or “establish and agree upon a measurement framework for our social media ads”.
Try to get as specific as possible with your goals, and you will not only be able to tell whether or not your meeting is a success, and but also whether or not you are getting off-track in your discussions.
Create a Conference Call Meeting Agenda
No one writes a book by spending 90% of their time on the preface. Having an agenda and sticking to it will put you that much closer to actually achieving the goal for your conference call meeting that you set out earlier because there will be an allotted time to discuss all of the important subjects in your meeting.
It’s also important to remember that we’re all only human, and sometimes the best of us make mistakes, go on tangents, or just goof off for fun. You should keep your conference call meeting on schedule, but please don’t be militant about it. There’s room for some fun in every meeting.
Send out Detailed Meeting Invitations & Follow Up on Them
Sending out meeting invitations, the rule is “the earlier, the better”. That way, you have time to gently remind people if they have forgotten to RSVP to your meeting. Giving your participants time also allows them to prepare for your meeting, and bring themselves up to speed on they need to know before the meeting.
Why does your agenda need to be detailed? Simply because when participants know they will be asked about a certain topic or job, they will tend to prepare an answer in advance. Basically, they will be more prepared for their meeting, even if it’s just to avoid being singled out as someone who wasn’t prepared.
“Park” Conference Call Meeting Subjects That Aren’t Relevant
What do you do when your meeting starts to drift off into an unrelated tangent? You could simply tell them to stop, but that might not be the most tactful and well-received solution. Instead, try “parking” these tangents to be visited at the end of the meeting, or at a later time. Some people call this the “parking lot”.
The parking lot is also great if someone raises a valid point needs to be addressed, but is still not explicitly relevant to the meeting. This way, important subjects can still be given the attention they need while your meeting continues, unhindered by off-topic discussions.
Make Sure the Next Steps are Agreed Upon
This step is essential. At the end of the meeting, repeat all of the next steps, as well as who will be taking up ownership. Once all parties have agreed to their tasks, no one can make the excuse of being confused, or saying that something “slipped their mind”.
Thanks to Cue, you can also send out an AI-generated meeting transcription to all participants so there is no confusion about what needs to be done.
After agreeing to when the next meeting will be, you can then circle back to your parking lot and address any extra details, or just chat. While it can sometimes seem pointless to talk about things like current events and movies when you host a conference call meeting, it’s essential for a positive workplace ecosystem and happy employees.