Conference calls are an important component of corporate life, especially in the IT sector where on-demand contact and assistance are required to solve technical problems. But are you using conference calls to your advantage? Make your conference calls more productive today with these easy tips.
Circulate an agenda to everyone involved to help structure the meeting and allow members to come prepared and ready to effectively participate in the discussion.
Introduce everyone in attendance at the very beginning of the meeting to ensure that people are familiar with those in attendance up front.
Schedule conference calls only when necessary — only when in-depth dialogue or brainstorming is required of the group. In situations where conference calls are unnecessary, conducted one-on-one calls or focused e-mail exchanges instead. Also, set the timing of the meeting — when the meeting will begin, break and end — ahead of time.
Stay focused on the subject matter of your conference call. Any issues that can be resolved offline do not need to be brought up during the meeting. Also, avoid any multi-tasking during the meeting. Phones and laptops should be left outside the conference room if they’re going to get in the way of the purpose of the meeting.
Choose someone to keep track of the timing of the meeting, so that you can focus on the items in the agenda and keep the meeting running smoothly.
As the meeting’s leader, you should think the meeting through thoroughly ahead of time, so that those in attendance don’t feel that the meeting is a waste of time. Run through the meeting ahead of time to work out any kinks and make sure that you come prepared with thorough notes.
If any new issues arise during the meeting, run through the agenda first, then deal with those issues last to prevent sidetracking and losing valuable time in covering the more important issues.
Crowding the conference call with any unnecessary people will only slow the call down. Try to limit the number of people on the conference call to four or five at the most if possible. Chaos will ensue if there are too many opinions circulating in the meeting.
Avoid interrupting others when speaking. Wait for the appropriate moment to jump into the call to avoid unnecessary arguments and ensure that everyone is being fully heard. This is important. It’s more difficult to listen and concentrate over the phone, so you need to make sure you’re listening carefully to everyone in the meeting before speaking. And don’t forget to mute your microphone when you’re not speaking to minimize background noise, says Forbes.
Either you or a project manager should summarize the meeting and email any necessary notes and action items to participants following the meeting. Doing so ensures that everyone is getting the most out of the meeting and that everyone is aware of the meeting highlights.
Make sure that you practice with the conference call service and tools ahead of time to make sure you understand all of the functions and moderator controls, says Computer World. Doing so will ensures that you do not waste time at the beginning of the call familiarizing yourself with the service. You can even call the conference company and get an overview of various commands.
Start the meeting on time to avoid wasting the time of your meeting’s participants, especially in conference calls with large numbers of participants. Participants who arrive late will simply need to miss the introduction and catch up.
For meetings that require them, use visual representations to get your point across. Familiarize yourself with the conference call service’s visual capabilities ahead of time. Use any other tools at your disposal during the conference call. For example, if you need to mute participants during the conference or manage a question and answer part of the meeting on a one by one basis, it’s important that you know the call service’s functions and features.
With video conferencing services like Blue Jeans, you can easily conduct conference calls for IT or other corporate sectors. Such services help you save the time and money it would take to travel for conferences and meetings, allow you to collaborate with colleagues and clients in remote locations and make your meetings overall more productive. Companies across the world use these video conferencing services to conduct online training and HR interviews, hold press conferences, share presentations and hold global meetings.