Conference calls have made it increasingly simple to connect with others, defying geographical limitations.
If you have employees working remotely, or clients in other parts of the country, you can quickly speak to them over the phone or through the Internet.
However, if not managed properly, the calls can be tediously long and simply waste all the participants’ time.
Managers often have to deal with a variety of professional contacts, forcing them to spend a majority of their time on conference calls.
There are ways to make them more succinct and successful, which we will explore in this article.
Prepare An Agenda – The most useful tip that you should take away from this article is to prepare well beforehand. We have all been on calls where everyone tries to jump in and talk about what is pertinent to them, with callers interrupting each other and cutting others off. As the manager, you should be the moderator of the call, which starts with the creation and distribution of an agenda. You may send out an email before the call asking the participants to let you know what, if anything, they want to discuss. Then, incorporate the most pressing matters into the agenda, and don’t let anyone stray from the topics at hand. This will not only significantly cut down on the length of the call, but will allow you to be certain that you have covered everything that needed to be addressed.
Use Visuals – If you are able to hold your call over Skype or a related system, try to use visuals whenever possible in the conversation. First off, conference calls tend to get long and boring, which makes participants lose focus. Second, some people simply don’t comprehend as well when hearing something, but do much better when seeing it visually. Therefore, if you are talking about sales goals or performance standards, create and share a graph outlining the numbers. If you are describing a product or an inspiration for an idea, share the image with the participants to increase their understanding.
Record The Call – Most conference call hosts or services give you the option of recording the call. This is a very useful feature as it gives you a chance to listen to the call again to make sure you truly heard everything that was being said. Although taking notes during the call is advised, you may not keep up with the fast pace of the conversation, and may miss something. Listening to the call after the fact will allow you to write down what you need at your own pace. Additionally, you can also share the recording with the others involved, so they, too, can have access to any information discussed.
Conference calls are a great invention to unite multiple people into a single conversation.
However, use the three tips above to have a successful call that doesn’t simply waste your time.
Head of Training and Development
(Image courtesy of Dollarphotoclub)
Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.