When the recession hit in 2008, companies starting cutting costs by bringing down the number of face to face meetings. This eventually forced staff into using conference calls as an alternative mode of communication. However, most did not receive proper guidance on how to lead such calls and therefore have a lackluster approach towards them.
To be sure that your colleagues and bosses aren’t getting bored or multi-tasking during your call, these tips below will help you achieve the objective of your call.
Practice, practice, practice.
Always practice using the conferencing software that you intend to use for the actual call. Set up a practice call with yourself and learn all the features that come with the software. There is nothing scarier than not knowing how to use the software when you’re the host. Learn important functions such as muting and un-muting callers.
Always have a backup plan.
We all know how technology fail on us right at the very moment we need them. Always send the call’s agenda, dialing or webinar information way ahead of the actual call time. In the event that the software or hardware decides to fail on you, you can always guide your participants over to the documents you sent over previously.
If it’s a group, prepare a room.
If you’re part of a group that is supposed to be physically present together and host the call, prepare a room with a proper speaker telephone with enough speakers for everyone. Always test the speaker telephone one day before the actual call as well as other equipment such as projectors that you may need.
Well, not too early. Start the conference call at least ten minutes ahead of the actual call time so that you can welcome each caller as they dial in and take their attendance. Always ask whether all participants have received the information that you sent over previously and have them ready it.
Touch on basic etiquette.
To ensure that your call is successful, briefly run through some basic conference call etiquette to ensure that there wouldn’t be a caller who will unexpectedly derail it. Ask callers to put their phones on mute and avoid being in areas with a lot of background noise. They should only un-mute their phones when they have something to say and never ever put their phones on hold.
Mobile phones that are silent should be placed further away as any notifications will cause a loud buzzing sound. If the call requires strict attendance, let callers know that you will pause the call at any moment a person joins so that you can take their attendance. Inform callers to speak loudly and clearly with their name at the front so that everyone will know who is talking.
Use these five tips to lead an effective conference call and continue to build your knowledge by experiencing more calls. These tips here will help you kick off and ensure that your callers are engaged and actively participating in your call. Good luck!
Nigel Sim for ECC