Whether you’ve been on a hundred conference calls already or this is going to be your first one, you could definitively use these 10 tips for successful conference calls. They’ll point out something you might have not considered or remind you of something you forgot. The point is, conference calls can be either very productive or a waste of time. While some attendees arrive early and well-prepared others try to hide that they are actually texting, eating, or whatnot. Use these tips for successful conference calls to make sure that your or anyone else’s time doesn’t get wasted.
1. Write things down
You need to attend a conference call prepared, whether you’re hosting it or just attending. Write down what you’d like to accomplish with this call, what you need to assign to others if needed, and, of course, any questions that you might have. If you’re in charge of this conference call you will also need to make sure to send the agenda that you created to all attendees, along with any links or passcodes that they’ll need to join.
2. Test your equipment
Technical glitches are inevitable, but you can prepare for conference calls by testing your equipment and software. This will save everyone a lot of time, and you’ll rest assured that you did everything you could to prevent unnecessary problems with the call.
3. Make sure to have a quiet background
You don’t want any background noise during the conference calls. Pay attention to the sounds around you because there might be something you got accustomed to, like a noisy fan or an air conditioner. Don’t call from the car unless you must. If you happen to be in a noisy place, make sure to apologize to all attendees and use chat and mute whenever possible.
4. Be the first one there
Maybe you are in charge of this conference call and, if so, you should definitely show up before everyone else. However, you should show up before the scheduled time even if you’re attending the conference call. You don’t want to be the person that forces everyone to repeat what they’ve already talked about just seconds ago, so don’t be late.
5. Introduce yourself
If you’re in charge you should introduce yourself and everyone else when the conference call starts. Since it can pretty difficult to identify each other by voice one of the tips for successful conference calls is that you ask everyone to mention their name before making a comment or asking a question. They could say something like “Susan here! I wanted to say…”
6. Keep it short and stay on point
People don’t want to hear about things that aren’t related to the subject of the call and their job, so sticking to the agenda is one of the most important tips for successful conference calls. You’ll get more participation if you don’t talk about the latest football game or the restaurant you went to for dinner. Stick to the scheduled time frame as well, because you’ll lose attentiveness and participation if you extend meetings. You shouldn’t multitask, so no exercising, eating, emailing, and similar during the call.
7. Give everyone a chance to talk, but not at the same time
Saying “Any comments?” will just cause everyone to talk at the same time. It’s much better to call out each participant by name so that they would all get a chance to say what they wanted or pass the opportunity.
8. Mute and record
When you’re not talking, use the mute button, just make sure to unmute before talking again. This is one of the best tips for successful conference calls, but there’s one equally important. Make sure to record the call so that you could use it later if needed, or take notes if recording is not an option.
Before you hang up, you need to summarize the conference call that you’ve just had. Mention the main points as well as action items. Conversations tend to go in different directions, and you need to remind people of the most important takeaways from the conference call.
10. Follow up
Even after you summarize things for everyone, they might forget something that was said, so sending a follow-up email is one of the most important tips for successful conference calls. Outline any assignments, action items, and decisions that were discussed during the conference call and make sure to send the email to everyone. You need an effective team, and to have one you need to have proper communication between everyone, so follow-up to keep things clear. Don’t forget about the dress code for conference calls and you’re all set!