When you’re organizing a conference call, it can be a challenge to ensure everyone’s on the same page before the call even starts. You’ll need to create an agenda, send out invites, decide when the call will take place, and more. If you’re dealing with remote team members or clients, you might be dealing with organizing different time zones/schedules as well.
Here are five tips on making the organization process that much easier. We’ll cover communicating with your participants, using the right tools for the job, and more. Keep reading to learn how to make your conference calls easier.
1. Use An Agenda. Use. An. Agenda.
Did we mention using an agenda? Going into a conference call without an agenda is like walking into an exam you didn’t study for; the only possible outcome is chaos. Without some direction for the call, it’s that much more likely to become derailed with conversations about last night’s fumble during the second quarter or why Janet from accounting got fired last week.
Agendas are simple but effective tools for better organizing your conference calls. The best part about an agenda is that you don’t need any special tools or templates to make one. Your agenda can be as simple as a written plan for what topics will be discussed during the call and who’s going to show up.
That being said, there are also more aesthetically-pleasing meeting agendas available online if you don’t want to hand-write or type one out. The important thing is that you’re using one to organize more efficient calls.
2. Be Clear With Your Expectations
Expectations should be explicitly expressed to each participant before and during the conference call. Let it be known what you’re all there to discuss, and what you expect to accomplish from the call. Are you solving a problem? Brainstorming ideas? Discussing potential issues? Whatever the case may be, make it clear what the call is intended to accomplish.
When you set clear expectations and use an agenda, you’re setting up your call for success. Your agenda acts as a map and your expectations are the compass; guiding the call’s participants to the desired outcome without distraction or sidetracking.
It may also be necessary to remind callers of your expectations when things start to derail. If this is the case, be sure to stand firm, and don’t be afraid to ask someone to leave the call if they continue to be disruptive.
3. Use an Online Conference Tool
Online conferencing services have become must-have tools for businesses all over the country. Not only are these tools efficient and affordable, but they also help you avoid the costs of long-distance or international calling. When you’re using traditional phone lines to host your calls, you’re subject to fees for calling clients or team members in other states or countries, which can add up quickly.
These online tools provide a secure meeting place to host your call that anyone can access from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. You won’t have to cover any long-distance calling fees, and you’ll have access to other tools like video chatting and call recording.
If you’re looking for a better way to host conference calls, these tools can provide you with everything you need to improve the quality, consistency, and connectivity of your conference calls.
4. Don’t Be Afraid To Move On
We’ve all been part of a conference call where one person droned on and on and on. When you’re on a time limit or adhering to an agenda, there’s little time to spare for Bob’s heartfelt speech on why you need an extra vending machine in the break room.It’s important to remember that it’s ok to interrupt someone for the sake of keeping the call moving, especially when things are getting derailed. Many hosts sit back and let participants run with their opinions, and let’s be honest; this does nothing but upset everyone after enough time has passed and prolongs the call indefinitely.
5. Record Your Calls
The best way to improve is to reflect. When it comes to hosting conference calls, recording your calls is a great way to look back on the call and learn from your mistakes. Didn’t use an agenda? You’ll see just how much that affected your call. Let someone drone on and on about last night’s game? You’ll see how that affected the call, too.
Many online conference tools allow you to record your calls and store them within the site’s cloud storage for easy access later, making it incredibly easy to review previous calls. Try an online conference tool today and you’ll see the difference immediately!
Conference calls don’t have to be unorganized and unproductive. Using the right tools, setting an agenda, and following the other tips we’ve provided will help you have the most productive calls of your professional life!