Do you need to discuss important issues with colleagues, but they all work in different cities or continents? No problem. Schedule a conference call and discuss everything you need. Do you know how to make your conference calls truly efficient?
Organizing conference calls
Conference call organization involves many smaller steps that can ultimately help you make sure that the call runs smoothly.
1. Agenda and preparation
One of the first steps is preparing an agenda. Think about what topics you want to discuss and share them with all participants. You can also send them additional materials, e.g. presentations, statistics or charts that could be useful during the call.
Decide on the type of call you want to make. Will you use the audio-only option or do you need to see your colleagues during the call? The first option might be easier, however, videoconferences are more personal and more similar to face-to-face meetings. Videoconferencing also allows you to see participants’ body language and immediate reactions.
Don’t forget about the right timing. If attendees come from different countries, consider the time zones. Make sure to send them an agenda along with a calendar invite well in advance.
Conference Calls – Step by Step Manual
1. Starting the call
Stick to the schedule and join the call in time. Technologies sometimes fail, so you should log in a few minutes before the scheduled start. If you manage to log in without any issues, you can use the time to go through the agenda points or have a cup of coffee. If something goes wrong, you will still have time to try again or call IT assistance and avoid stress and delays.
2. Communication during the call
If this is a formal meeting or if you communicate with people you don’t know, make sure to introduce yourself. Stick to the agenda and relevant topics. Otherwise, the conference call might easily change into a chaotic discussion about yesterday’s Real Madrid match or the Prime Minister’s favorite restaurant.
Speak clearly and make sure that everyone understands what you want to say. Take extra care if you communicate in a foreign language. For example, if you communicate in English and you are not a native speaker, don’t try too hard to sound like you were born in Essex, because chances are that your colleagues will not understand anything.
3. What to do during the conference call?
Act like this is a "traditional" face-to-face meeting – the only difference being that the participants are not in the same room as you are. Take notes and stick to the etiquette – don’t talk for too long, don’t interrupt others when they speak. To make the most out of the call, write down minutes as soon as the call finishes. This will be much easier if you take notes in real time during the call. You may also decide to make a call recording that you can get back to anytime you need.
Conference calls eliminate any distance barriers. There is a wide range of softwares that can help, just choose the one that suits your needs and move your conference calls to the next level.