Technology has certainly made our world smaller. The ability to contact people around the world through email, phone call, or conference calls has made it easier for teams to connect remotely, no matter how far away they are.
That said, even though conference calls are a convenient form of communication, studies show that they haven’t been a silver bullet to change the way business is done. In fact, 87% of employees who use conference calls regularly report that, given the choice, they would prefer face-to-face communication.
Tired of hosting boring conference calls? Check out these conference solutions to start planning calls that will keep your team engaged.
Send Out an Agenda
There’s nothing worse than a conference call that goes on forever and where the attendees never actually discuss the important points. Having a clear agenda is one of the most important conference solutions to prevent this from happening.
It’s a good idea to send out this agenda at least two days before the conference call. This gives everyone time to read over the items and be prepared to speak on relevant points. It also gives attendees the opportunities to contact the call organizer with points they would like to discuss.
Set Ground Rules
Once the call gets started, make sure that everyone in attendance follows some simple rules. First, everyone on the call should introduce themselves, so everyone knows who they’re talking to.
Next, ask everyone to mute themselves when they are not speaking. This will help cut down on background noise.
Finally, if you are recording the conversation (which we recommend), inform everyone on the call that you are doing so. This shows respect for their privacy concerns.
Start On Time
It’s very important to start the call when you said you would start it, regardless of whether everyone invited has called in yet. Starting on time shows respect to those who did call in, and keeps their attention.
Keep in mind that those who called in on time are likely to be your best attendees. It is unwise to keep these folks waiting for attendees who did not prioritize the call.
Stay on Topic
While setting an agenda for a meeting is important, it is only half the battle. For your agenda to be effective, you must also stay on topic. Let the agenda guide the meeting so that you know you are being productive.
Some meeting organizers find it helpful to assign estimated times to each agenda item. This way, if you find yourself spending too much time on one agenda item, you can wrap up that conversation, and make plans to schedule a future meeting if necessary.
This is a good way to ensure that you get to everything on your agenda.
Be Respectful of Time
Estimates indicate that weekly meetings can eat up more than 300,000 hours of employee time a year. When you ask colleagues to dedicate their time to a meeting, it’s important to show them that they value their time by making it worthwhile.
So, in addition to starting on time and staying on topic, you want to make sure that the call is spent discussing relevant issues, and wraps up in a timely manner.
Even if you’ve set aside an hour for the meeting, there’s nothing wrong with ending the meeting early if all of the agenda items have been met.
Know Who Needs to be There
One important way to be respectful of time is recognizing when certain people may not need to be on the call at all. While it can be easy to send out a mass invite, this is not an efficient approach.
For one, people who do not need to be on the call can use that time in other ways. Not to mention, the more people who are on the call, the longer conversations will take.
It is certainly important to stay on topic and keep the conversation moving in a timely manner. But organizers should also be careful not to be so regimented that their meeting facilitation becomes robotic.
When you’re speaking on a conference call, use your natural voice, rather than an “announcer” voice. This will help attendees to feel more engaged with the conversation and will help prevent people from tuning out.
When people work hard, they appreciate receiving recognition for what they’ve done. If your colleagues dread conference calls, you can make them more palatable by using them as an opportunity to highlight one another’s great work.
Set aside time in each call to talk about the great work an attendee has done recently.
Consider Using Video
Video is one of the most popular conference solutions being embraced by businesses. Using video helps to bridge the gap between conference calling and face-to-face conversations.
Your attendees may find it easier to stay engaged if they are able to see the faces and body language of the people they are speaking with.
Record the Call
By the very nature of a conference call, chances are that some attendees will be distracted. It’s simply too easy to put the call on mute and get wrapped up in something else.
This is why it’s always important to record your conference calls. This way, attendees can listen to the call after the fact to refresh their memories on what was discussed. And, by using tools like those offered by this company, you can easily record your conference calls.
Follow Up With a Recap
Another benefit of recording the call is making it easier to provide a recap. After the call, the organizer should write up the calls key takeaways and action items to send out to attendees. This will help remind every one of the call’s most important aspects.
Start Implementing Conference Solutions Today
With these conference solutions in hand, you will be able to have successful calls. This will make your remote work much more productive.
Need more tips for making your remote work strategy effective? Check out these 5 strategies for boosting productivity when you work from home.