Conference calls have become an essential part of conducting business as they ensure swift and efficient communication. But these calls can be awkward and time-consuming if done without taking proper precautions. If you are not prepared, a conference can easily become a disaster.
Best Practices for Conference Calls
To hold fruitful conference calls it is essential to understand the best ways to conduct them. Here are some practices that will make the conference call productive and worth your time.
Take Care of Technical Difficulties
It is not possible to have a meeting if the call keeps dropping or there is an issue with audio or video. The technical difficulties can make it hard to go through the meeting’s agenda.
To make sure the conference call goes smoothly make sure that you take care of technical difficulties before the call. If you are updating the phone system, choose the one that can handle the calling requirements.
The location to hold the conference call must be chosen carefully because you do not want any disruptions in the middle of the meeting. Companies often have a quiet conference room in the office where they can avoid any unnecessary disruptions.
Avoiding disruptions can be challenging when the participant is joining from a remote location. If you feel that some sort of disruption is inevitable, make sure to make an apology beforehand. Being honest and upfront shows you are professional.
Know The Participants
Be clear about who is going to be participating in the conference call beforehand. Do not decide who to invite at the last minute because it will cause confusion. The effort required to convene a meeting of five participants is different from the one that has more than fifty or a hundred participants.
Knowing the audience before starting the call makes it easier to prepare for the meeting. You should send out the invitations at least a day before the meeting. Google calendar is an excellent tool for sending invites.
Use Video Feature
Most of the conference calls are audio calls. Audio-video calls are hard to conduct because not being face-to-face makes it hard to determine if participants are paying attention or not. Video conferences allow you to read body language. It improves the effectiveness and flow of communication. Adding visual cues to the conference call will help in improving the quality of the calls.
Give A Good Introduction
Introducing yourself to all the other participants of the conference call is essential. All the participants must be clear about who is in charge of the meeting. The importance of an impressive introduction increases when the meeting is with people you are conversing with for the first time. When you share your name, give your title or your position in the company as well.
Avoid Long Silences
There are silent moments in a meeting especially during in-person meetings but it is essential to avoid quietness in conference calls. If there are too many quiet moments then the participants will easily become disinterested and they may abandon the call thinking the call is experiencing technical difficulties.
Unresponsiveness during a conference call shows you are not prepared for the meeting. Make sure that you stay engaged all the time and maintain the interest of all the participants of the call.
Avoid Specialized Conversations
The agenda of the meeting must be appropriate for all the participants of the conference call. Do not add topics that will have two participants having a lengthy discussion with each other that does not offer any value to all the other people attending the call. When the meeting becomes focused on just two participants, the other will simply tune out.
If you have any specialized topic to discuss with a participant then arrange a separate meeting with the relevant person. Prepare a blurb on the topic and give a review of the issue in the meeting. It will ensure that the issue is discussed without dominating the agenda of the conference call.
Finish off the meeting on a positive note and the best way to do that is with a formal goodbye. It is not nice to end the call abruptly. A formal goodbye will ensure that the participant feels your presence in the meeting and develops a good impression of you.
Observing conference call etiquette is crucial to convene fruitful meetings. Without proper etiquette, the calls can easily become a nuisance and a waste of time. The productiveness of the call depends significantly on your preparation and ability to maintain interest by following the right decorum