It's no secret that conference calls aren't most people's favourite thing to do. If they're not conducted correctly they can be very unproductive. These 3 amusing tweets show how conference calls can be unappreciated by their participants.
But this doesn't have to be the case! If you follow these simple tips, you have the best chance of ensuring that your participants engage with the discussion.
- Limit attendees
Only invite people who are relevant to the agenda. If you plan your meeting agenda in advance and stick to it, you can even invite particular people just for the part of the meeting that concerns them.
- Understand the technology you're using
There's nothing more irritating than wasting the first 20 minutes of a meeting because somebody is having issues joining the conference. Take some time before the call to make sure you understand how to use your technology.
- Don't abuse the technology
Just because you can join a conference call from a train station, doesn't mean you should. All that noise is going to disrupt the meeting and nobody will thank you for it. Be respectful of your colleagues.
- Keep the meeting brief and stick to the schedule
So many people these days are time poor and will not appreciate being kept in a meeting longer than necessary. Make sure you know what the point of the meeting is and try to achieve that goal as quickly as possible.
- Come prepared
You're unlikely to be able to keep your meeting brief if nobody has come prepared. Send out the agenda and any necessary documentation to participants beforehand, so everyone can prepare questions in advance.
- Use the mute button
If you have to multi-task while on a conference call, remember to use the mute button! Nobody else wants to hear you eating, typing or telling off your barking dog. When you want to contribute, simply unmute yourself. You can read a list of other useful conferencing tools on our website.
Additionally, don't take another call while you're on a conference call - you will be blasting your hold music into the whole conference, which may need to be stopped while you finish your call! How embarrassing.
- Build rapport
The lack of visual cues during a conference call makes it harder to pay attention and can make many people hesitant to speak up. This won't make for a very successful meeting so if you have people who don't know each other, encourage them to introduce themselves and briefly explain their role in the project so everyone feels at ease with each other.
- Switch the meeting time around
If you're conferencing with people in other time zones, try to schedule your meetings at times that aren't always inconvenient for the same person. If one conference occurs out of office hours for your colleague in the UK, then schedule the next call outside of your own office hours to make it fair.
- Be on time
This seems straightforward but is something that a lot of people complain about in regards to conference calls. It is incredibly annoying when the discussion keeps being interrupted by beeps and names being announced.
When you need to communicate with people in other states or countries, conference calls are indispensable. Following these tips should ensure that your conferences are hitch-free.