Conference calls have become an integral part of the corporate world. In order to cut time and travel expenses, the best resort is to set up an international conference. Yet if employees spend long hours on conferences or are frustrated with the chaos then there is a need to make the calls shorter and efficient. Many of the problems and glitches during conferences are easily avoidable.
Here are 8 ways to make your conference call more productive:-
Agenda: Create a clear and well detailed agenda and distribute it along with all other essential material to the participants in advance. This keeps everyone notified about what to expect, what information is going to be presented and eliminates the probability of participants being clueless without the relevant documents with them. Stay focused and stick to the agenda throughout the meeting to avoid wasting time on irrelevant discussion.
Timing: Schedule timings beforehand including start, breaks and end times. Inform all members of the timings through regular reminders. Stick to the set timings so that you maintain a reputation of being precise and it will avoid frustration or confusion among participants. If everyone is punctual, then the meeting will be more productive.
Familiarize with the service: Conference calls services vary according to the provider; hence identify the features and tools before call. Test all equipment and learn how to use the functions, especially those that you have never used before. Conduct a tech rehearsal or set up a practice call to keep the conference blunder-free.
Introduction: It is very important to acquaint everyone participating through a concise introduction at the beginning of the call. This will establish each member’s identity and get them familiar with all voices. This prevents unnecessary confusion later, during the process of the call.
Etiquette: Be polite and courteous on call. Use features like “call waiting” and “mute” whenever necessary; do not use “hold” as that may cause a buzzing sound on the line which will distract the other participants. Call people out by their name when you ask questions so that you get responses quickly and avoid dead air. Come prepared to participate in an organized manner. Give your undivided attention to the call and take notes for reference.
Distractions: Choosing a proper conference environment is extremely significant. Pick a less noisy location without chances of background disturbances. If it going to be a video call, check lighting as well along with sounds in the room before the call. Avoid using your personal phone or checking your mails during the conference.
Moderation: The leader should be able to introduce all the members, facilitate speakers and keep people who are not paying attention in check. He/she needs to regulate the conversation, encourage participation, break into long silences and lead the conversation in the right direction if it is going off track.
Visual Aids: In a web conference use visual aids, if possible, to get your points across to all members. This will present ideas in a more efficient and clear manner, reducing the time spent on lengthy verbal explanation. This is especially useful if the number of participants is huge.