How to Plan for an Efficient Conference Call?
Conference calls are an excellent working tool. It not only brings together people from different parts of the world, but can also save a ton of phone calls and long emails, in which everyone can understand what they want.
When handled efficiently, conference calls provide a great opportunity for raising ideas and reaching clear-cut decisions. The problem is that conference calls are seldom handled efficiently. Most times, they don’t start on schedule, they’re managed poorly, there are too many technical problems and every participant talks about whatever he or she wants, for as long as they want.
A conference call is just like a meeting: when well-managed, it reaches its goals. Here are some steps to take to ensure that your next conference call is not a waste of your time.
1. Invite the people you need
Meetings in the physical universe are held in conference rooms, with a limited number of chairs. This means that, to some degree, you can add several chairs and invite people that have no direct bearing on the subject.
In conference calls, no such physical limitations exist. You can invite 200 people, but herein lays the problem: an increased number of people mean an increased risk for distractions and deviations for the subject. So think over carefully before you decide who to invite and invite only people who can directly contribute to the subject at hand.
2. Not every conference call has to last a full hour
When you schedule 1-hour calls, people will talk for an hour. The same goes for 2-hour calls. In some cases, when the subject is focused and clear enough, a half-hour will suffice. The shortened time span helps everyone stay in focus. Make sure you remind the participants of the time limit and if you really want everyone to stay on point – schedule the conference call just before lunch time.
3. Talking points
Conference calls are neither magic nor a disaster. It’ll be run just the way you run it. Send talking points ahead of time, including clear goals and set a time for every item on the agenda. Leave time for presenting the subject and goals at the beginning of the call and for summarizing the salient points and assigned tasks at the end of it. In this way, every participant will know the allotted time for his/her subject and the chattier participants will be more likely to curb that very natural tendency.
4. Speaking in turn
In an average conference call, once the “call manager” states the purpose of the call and the subject, three people start talking at once. Then, everybody gets quiet and an awkward silence ensues, since now nobody knows whether it’s okay to speak.
There’s a pretty simple solution for all this: you’re running the show, so you invite people to speak. Help yourself to an ancient tool – use peoples’ names: Now Brian will tell us what’s new with him; now Judith will tell us what she thinks about that, etc.
5. Choose the right tech
If your conference call service provides you with an irritating, disruptive call, it may be time to switch things up. Make sure your conference call service provides you with a smooth, uninterrupted experience. Also, makesure it provides you with the necessary extras – from screen sharing to chat.
For better conference calling experience, Try QCONF conference call service and enjoy high-quality, secure, international audio conferencing at one low, predictable price.
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