Conference calls are an effective way of holding business meeting without the hassle and costs of travelling to meetings. However, because a conference call is not face-to-face they need to be carried out effectively in order to get the best results.
Because the people on the call can’t see you it can be tempting not to take them as seriously as in a face-to-face meeting. However, a conference call is just as important as a meeting tool so there are a number of measures businesses can take to make sure they work well. Here are my top five tips:
1 – Location:
Try to hold the call in a quiet room, there is nothing worse then trying to hold a business meeting when there are noises in the background like machinery or noisy staff members. Instead hold the conference call in a quiet and private room and you are less likely to be distracted by the rest of the office and neither will the other people on the call.
If you can’t find a quiet location then use the phone’s mute button until you need to speak so that you are not distracting everyone on the call.
2 – Prepare:
A conference call is a meeting and should be treated as one. Therefore, you should prepare and send round an agenda and stick to it as much as possible. That way the call will be organised and have a clear structure which will mean that you are more likely to get everything you need done. It is also vital to make notes during the call so you know what has been decided.
3 – Be Succinct:
When on a conference call it can be tempting to waffle on but if you are succinct you are more likely to come out of the call with the desired outcome. Stick to the point of the call and you won’t go far wrong. Also pay attention when on the call we all need to multi-task in our day-to- day lives but give the call the same attention you would as a face-to-face meeting.
4 – Introduce Yourself:
Don’t expect everyone to know what your voice sounds like – they won’t. In a face-to-face meeting it is simple to work out who is talking but on a conference call you won’t have that luxury. Therefore, you should always introduce yourself before you start speaking that way people will know it is you.
If you are leading the call it is also a good idea to get everybody to introduce themselves at the beginning as well, as that way everyone can get acquainted and know who they are talking to.
5 – Don’t Interrupt Others:
It may seem obvious but you would be amazed how many conference calls end up with people talking over each other. You wouldn’t interrupt people in a face-to-face meeting so don’t do it on a conference call. Of course on a call it is harder to know when people have finished speaking as you don’t have the same visual cues you would if the person was in front of you. Therefore, you have to listen out for when they have stopped speaking. If you really must interrupt someone, and I don’t recommend it, at least do so politely and only if strictly necessary.
Of course if you treat a conference call like a formal business meeting then you won’t go far wrong and you may just save the company an expensive travel bill.
Have you ever been on a call with someone who doesn’t follow these tips? Leave your comments below..