A conference call is an effective way to bridge communication gaps between partners in an organization and discuss pertinent business matters. This can also prove to be convenient for those who happened to be at far distances and cannot be there in person. However, there are a series of components that are necessary in order to make sure that a conference call runs smoothly. Fortunately, there are ways to circumvent potential issues and maximize the fall. Here are four tips to ensure that a conference call runs without a hitch.
Encourage Active Participation
Arguably the most important aspect of a conference call is participation from all members. Gaps in communication can make a conference difficult to have when in-person. However, these issues will become exacerbated if there are silent members over a call. This is a common issue because many people tend to get preoccupied or disinterested in hearing others over the phone.
If you are curious, there are certain conference call services that can help alleviate potential pitfalls. Some of the benefits of these services include the following:
- Q&A capabilities
More likely than not, there will be certain codes to activate these features, so they should be dispensed to all members of the call beforehand. The more interactive and inclusive a conference call, the more productive it will be.
As with most things in life, things will be a lot smoother if everything is organized. If you aim to accomplish all of the items that is on your agenda, there should be a plan of action that is implemented. This could coincide with the first tip by incorporating a method to have everyone participate.
Ideally, you will have an outline for the call prepared and relay any pertinent information about how the call will be structured before you start tackling certain items. Pre-call preparation is also crucial, because you do not want to waste precious time on irrelevant topics. That can predispose to poor communication and participation.
Getting anywhere on time is a sign of professionalism. Therefore, if you want a conference call to go well, you will need to ensure that everyone who is participating in the call arrives on time. If you are planning a call for noon, every participant should ideally be present approximately 10 to 15 minutes beforehand. You should adhere to the common saying in the business world that being on time is being late, and being early is on time.
If there are any potential discrepancies in scheduling or if someone cannot make it on time, it should be addressed well in advance. Another important reason why it is important to be on time is because you may encounter technology issues that could delay the call. You must always be prepared for potential problems or distractions that you may not have accounted for.
Stay on Topic
While it can be tempting to veer off into uncharted territory over the phone, staying on topic and sticking to the agenda will ensure a productive conference. Everyone participating needs to be engaged so that everyone can provide input and understand what needs to be discussed. Looking at it from a humanistic standpoint, many people simply are not interested in hearing what is taking place in your personal life or special event that took place.
Speaking at length with topics that do not contribute to the agenda will needlessly prolong the call, and with that, engagement can be lowered. You should also consider what the expected timeframe of the call is supposed to be. If this was supposed to be a call lasting around half an hour, do not prolong it by speaking about a certain movie or sporting event. If you get the sense that someone is not staying on task, swiftly get them back into the right mindset.
Having a productive conference call is very important and no time should be wasted. By following these four important concepts, you will be able to have a productive conference call while accomplishing everything on the agenda.