Steps for a Productive Conference Call – Part 1

by Conference Call Admin on October 4, 2010

Getting More from Conference Calling

Conference calls can be tough to keep on track. They have a habit of getting too bland or too conversational and can easily eat up large amounts of time. This is far from ideal or productive. However, there are simple ways to maximize the benefits of conference calling to ensure everyone gets as much from every minute as they can.

Plan Your Conference Call

Perhaps the most important step is to plan the main elements of your conference call. Start with a list of what you want to cover during the call and jot down points for each along with your conference call invitation. In addition to ensuring the call is necessary, this gets everyone prepared and gives them time to think about the various topics and make their own list of talking points. You’ll also want to keep the topics highly focused on specific segments to prevent mind wandering. After all, if they’re thinking about one topic, they can’t concentrate on topic number ten.

You should also estimate a time limit for each point that will be discussed during the conference call and reference your clock during the call to ensure things move along at a reasonable pace. This helps keep everyone motivated and on-topic as well. Also, if discussion does happen to go off on a tangent, you can limit that to only a few minutes.

Center Conference Calling Focus and Avoid Distraction

Make sure to get all your urgent calls, emails, and messages out of the way before the start of the official conference call. If this is difficult for you to do, try to schedule your calls outside of your ‘busy hours’ when you’re less likely to be called away. Turn off the cell phones, alarms, music, televisions, and any other items in the area that will force you to break your concentration.

Conference calling generally offers the option to mute everyone but the organizer or speaker.  Our host control for this feature is 1*. This is a great feature for larger calls where the potential for interruption in much higher.  It prevents people from speaking out of turn and pulling the conversation off track.  Instead, schedule various points throughout the meeting where others can speak and ask questions.  For smaller conference calls on Toll Free Conference, participants can also mute their own line using 4* from the telephone for a bit more individual control.

Motivate and Prepare For a Future Conference Call Follow Up

Conference calling can be highly motivating by itself, but you can improve your chances of post-conference call action.  Before you hang up, make sure to do a quick recap of what was discussed as well as a list of what the callers should do afterward. This could include goals you’re looking to achieve, to-do items that need to be scratched off the list, topics that need brainstorming, or just about anything. Regardless, everyone who attends the call should have some summary of the call and what they should be doing next.

If you want to ensure you get the most value out of each conference call, make sure you’re prepared. This way, you can discuss exactly what you need to, cover all the important points, and never have to worry about forgetting important topics. You’ll be able to keep your conference calling down and spend time putting your ideas into action rather than just talking about them.  Have a great call!

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