This is an update to the blog “Tips To Conduct Effective Conference Calls”
Conference call meetings are an essential part of business. These meetings help organizations to work with remote workers, consult with partners around the world, manage satellite offices, meet with dispersed clients, and drastically reduce travel costs. If it is done well, then it will help in enhancing productivity, building relationships, improving project management, increasing sales growth and customer loyalty and reducing costs. These meetings can be recorded and sent to an online transcription company. Such companies transcribe recorded files into text format. The recent addition of video in conferencing tools such as Skype has made conference calls even more productive. However, some conference call meetings can be boring and a waste of time. So, experts recommend a few tips for making conference call meetings efficient and productive. These include:
- Be on time, stick to time duration, make it professional – Encourage callers to join the call on time and start calls on time. Never wait for everybody to arrive. Meetings should be finished on time and if there are points that have not been addressed those can be postponed to discuss at a new meeting. Make meeting time more informative and engaging. You should keep your statements short and ask for feedback frequently. It may be advisable to ask direct
- Prepare an agenda and stick to it – The topics to discuss at the meeting should be prepared in advance. You should create an agenda or an outline of the call for yourself and your attendees. In addition, prepare as much material as possible prior to the meeting. This will help avoid wasting time on useless topics. This agenda should be sent to all participants at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting and keep your participants engaged throughout the meeting. You should include in the email the names of those who will be on the call. This will help the participants get a clear picture of who all are sitting around the virtual conference table. You should decide how much time can be spent on each point. This will help keep track of time. In addition, ensure that everybody is on the same page.
- Must be in a quiet environment – Ask everybody to put their phones on mute when they are not talking. You should say your name each time before you speak, whenever you have to intervene. In addition, make sure that the area from where you are calling is quiet. This will help you to clearly hear what is being said and also each participant will be able to hear you clearly. When conducting the call, close your office door or go into a business conference room and avoid noisy areas like coffee shops.
- Have good body language – It is necessary to use positive reinforcements such as “that’s right,” “okay” and “good idea.” Even though people cannot see you, this positive reinforcements will help them quickly grasp onto your tone as it is the major delivery in a business phone call. Ina addition, the reaffirmation reassures people on the suitability of the ideas discussed and provides a feeling of moving forward.
- Use visual aids, if necessary – Visual aids are suitable when you are presenting new ideas or strategies to a large group. You need to have an internet connection and web conferencing capabilities to use visual aids during a conference call.
- Send instant messages to all participants with the leading figures, ideas or points – Nearly 80% of workers are willing to use or increase their use of screen sharing during calls. If this is not possible due to the lack of appropriate software, then instant messages can offer great support and replacement. You should make sure that the main ideas and figures are directly shared in real time with all participants. When participants see the main points in writing, they can easily retain and remember them. In addition, sending quick instant messages to others during the meeting can be an interest-redirection technique.
- Follow-up by email – After the meeting, the detailed meeting minutes should be distributed among the participants. It must be a shorter follow-up email which should contain things that are accomplished and are agreed up on.
- Record the meeting – Recording the phone meetings can prove valuable for several reasons. It allows participants to go back and review the discussion. It also allows an individual who was not able to attend the meeting to listen to the recording and receive the same information as those individuals who attended the meeting. Moreover, a recording is a great way to keep track of the meetings and verify what information was discussed and presented.
If you want to maintain transcripts of the meeting, have it recorded and sent to a professional audio transcription service provider. The meeting transcripts can be maintained for reference purposes later on when planning future meetings.