Holding conference calls is one of the biggest necessary evils in the business world. Clients tell us all the time how much they dislike the starts, stops and connectivity issues that go along with teleconferencing and how they wish there was a way to communicate effectively from afar.
However, there are some tips and tricks you can take advantage of to ensure that your conference call is perfectly productive.
- Make sure your staff knows the objective. This includes knowing details pertinent to the goal of the call, and making sure everyone knows that time is money and chit chat is wasting it. A short meeting before the call, or simply a whiteboard in the room with objectives and information displayed within eyesight can help. An informed team can effectively work together to achieve any goal.
- Test your equipment beforehand. Anyone in the technology sector will understand that equipment doesn’t always work properly. Screens can stay black, microphones can die, speakers can emit high-pitch interference, and internet can drop completely at times in any office building. But testing your setup a day or more beforehand can give you time to fix the minor problems you may encounter BEFORE the call with a prospective client.
- Find a quiet place. And we aren’t talking about meditation… a conference call that sounds like it is is coming from a coffee shop is never a good thing. It is unprofessional, and can lead to drastic miscommunication or instances of over-clarification. A secluded space, or even just a room with a door can make all the difference when trying to impress someone over the phone.
- State your name before speaking. Since the conference call attendees are not all in the same room, it is important for others on the line to know who is speaking so that they can better understand the context of your comments. In some cases you may also want to state your role, company, or location after your name; this is most relevant when your conference call includes people from other groups or organizations that have never met you face-to-face.
- Define a clear leader. Every conference call should have a clear, defined leader. The leader should be the ones that emails out the agenda ahead of the call, directs the conversation, makes sure everyone sticks to the agenda, pays attention to time, and sends any follow up action item emails or additional meeting invites.