It’s highly convenient to be able to work from anywhere. With the help of technology and conference calls, you can stay on the same page no matter where you are.
But with the convenience comes a little chaos, and everyone’s been on a bad conference call. Oftentimes, the problem is a poor service platform that’s not equipped to handle multiple voices. Other times, it’s a lack of management or poor conference etiquette that makes it difficult for every voice to be heard.
The problem, whatever it is, must be fixed so you can get back to productivity. Here are some helpful methods to creating a better conference call experience for all involved.
1. Send Out Email Instructions Before The Meeting Begins
A little preparation can keep your meeting running smoothly with both technology and employees. Here are some things to include in that email:
- Step by step instructions for joining the call
- A request to arrive 15 minutes early in the event of technical difficulties
- A request to come prepared
- An agenda of what the meeting will hold
- Any other information that will help employees prepare for the meeting
2. Establish Conference Call Etiquette At The Beginning Of Each Meeting
Before the meeting starts, review basic rules of etiquette that apply to a conference call. Everybody has their own preferences on this, but you might mention things like raising a virtual hand to speak, using the message bar for minor comments, and not talking over others. Conference calls can be pure chaos if the rules of etiquette aren’t followed.
3. Use The Right Calling Platform
Much of the success of your call is dependent on the technology you use. The right platform will be simple to use and include all the features you need for a smooth meeting including:
- Web conferences
- Mobile apps
- Local dial-in numbers
- Document sharing
- Screen sharing
- Call recording
- International calling
- Toll-free communication
Uberconference from DialPad, for example, is a top-rated communication tool used by companies like Motorola, Vivint, Xero, The Weather Channel, Ted, Netflix, Uber, and more.
4. Set Up At Least An Hour Before And Do A Test Run
Murphy’s Law regarding technology says that anything that can go wrong will go wrong at some point. To minimize the issues with your tech, get ready early. Most platforms offer a test run option that will check the basic functions of the software before you begin the actual call.
5. Create An Agenda And Keep The Content Engaging
Like any productive meeting, a conference call should be organized ahead of time. Without an agenda, it’s easy to get distracted and miss crucial points.
Additionally, conference attendees can arrive more prepared if you tell them what you’ll be discussing. In your initial email, ask for any questions that should be addressed alongside the written agenda. This will limit confusion and increase preparation.
6. Don’t Make It Longer Than It Has To Be
Long meetings are rough when you’re sitting in a room together, but when you’re dealing with the challenges of long distance communication, it’s even tougher. People habitually schedule meetings for a full hour, but if you can cover your points in less time, do it.
A great strategy for shortening meetings is setting a time limit at the beginning. Say you only have 30 minutes to cover the agenda, and the shortened period will keep people more focused on the task at hand.
7. Delegate Responsibilities For Smoother Facilitation
You don’t have to do everything. If you’re trying to keep track of time, set up the technology, run the meeting, and handle a variety of other tasks, it will only slow the meeting down. For the sake of efficiency and more engaged participants, share some of your responsibilities, like recording the meeting or tracking time, with others.
8. Limit The Number Of People In Your Conference Call
The more people you add to the call, the more chaotic it becomes. Most calling platforms will let you meet with upwards of 10, but it’s easier to handle the agenda and tech if that number is closer to five. You may not need to invite everyone involved in a project. Instead, only invite the leaders of your teams or have more than one meeting to reduce the number of people.
Conference calls have a bad rap for being chaotic. However, if you have the right platform and a solid plan, yours can run just as smoothly as an in-person meeting.
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