Conference calls can be a great way to keep all members of your company up-to-date on important business information, particularly employees who work remotely. However, running effective conference calls is not an easy thing to do, and it is important to know how to properly set up a conference call, minimize technical issues and ensure the agenda established beforehand is carried out in an efficient and effective manner.
The ability to run a conference call with employees inside of your company means that you are able to keep track of their progress and give them the opportunity to ask any pertinent questions they may have.
The following are five useful tips to help you and your business run more flawless conference calls every single time.
Be Prepared Before The Conference Call
It is almost impossible to have a successful conference call if you are not well prepared and fully organized ahead of the meeting. By taking proper steps to prepare yourself and other members of your team before the call, you can avoid any complications or technical issues that may arise.
Each conference call is different, and the planning you need to do for your calls are specific to your clients and your company. However, there are certain preparation techniques that should be a part of every conference call, regardless of the business, including the following:
- Establish an agenda
- Set goals for the call
- Invite the employees
- Check the software
Start your preparation well in advance, just in case there are any unexpected issues that arise. By doing so, you can give yourself time to straighten out any complications that present themselves and ensure the conference call runs smoothly.
Learn How to Set Up a Conference Call
Another important tip to keep in mind when attempting to run effective conference calls is to have a full understanding of the software and devices you are using.
When you learn how to set up a conference call, look for instructions and follow them closely. The best way to do this is to go through a trial run before the actual conference call takes place. Have members of your team practice using the conference call equipment, and ensure the audio and any other components work as expected.
After you learn how to set up a conference call yourself, make sure all who will be present for the conference call understand as well. If the employees work remotely, you can send an email or video showing them how to setup up the call.
Stick to The Plan
You should always establish an agenda well in advance of the conference call, detailing exactly what you hope to accomplish during the meeting. For many, this includes going over a brief rundown of what you hope to accomplish during the call, having each person introduce themselves to the rest of the members and letting each team member give updates on their progress.
In many instances, it is helpful to let the employees run the meeting, and the manager of the conference call can sit back and ensure a healthy, productive conversation is happening, and that the agenda is being followed.
For best results, it is often a good idea to send out the conference call agenda to each member before the call takes place. This allows them to fully prepare themselves for the meeting and gives you the opportunity to prepare as well. By having a plan and sticking to it, you can ensure the conference call accomplishes and meets every goal established beforehand.
Minimize Technical Issues
While completely eliminating every minor error that occurs during a conference call may not be entirely possible, you can minimize technical issues by becoming familiar with the conference call service you are using. This will give you a better understanding of how to fix the most common errors that may occur.
Of course, the best way to minimize technical issues is to choose a reputable, trusted service to run your conference calls through. However, even with trusted conference call systems, errors can occur through human error or technical malfunction. Be sure to read through the reviews of the service you choose and gain a full understanding of how to prevent technical issues from occurring and know how to fix them in the event one does occur.
Record The Call and Send a Follow Up
Another useful tip to ensure that your conference calls run smoothly without any complications is to record the call and send a follow up to each member after the call is over.
In some cases, sending a follow up can be as simple as providing a recording of the call to each member who was present. This allows them to listen to it again and understand exactly what they are supposed to be doing and how to do it. However, it may be even more helpful to send a personalized email to each person highlighting the key takeaways for them personally.
It’s generally a good practice to have all team members, including yourself, to take notes while the conference call is going on. This will allow you to further ensure that everyone remembers the key points established during the meeting, encourage them to stay focused during the meeting as well as remember what to do after it is over.
Conference calls are a great way to keep track of remote employees in an effective and efficient manner if they are utilized properly.
By following these five tips, you can consistently hold effective meetings each time you need to schedule a conference call with your colleagues, employees, and potential customers or clients.
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.