For a lot of business meetings, participants don’t have to be in the same room, or even the same city. With conference calls, either through phones or computers, it is now easier to get things done in a business even if employees are in different parts of the world. All that’s needed is the technology, the people and and an effective meeting outline.
Yes, a meeting outline. A mistake that many conference calls participants make is getting too comfortable and not being prepared for the meeting. Conference calls should be treated with the same attention and care as if they were conducted in a board room, even if it is over the phone and you’re sitting in your kitchen in your pajamas. Here’s a list of tips to keep in mind while conducting conference calls:
- Know the service: Your first time using a conference call service shouldn’t be during an actual meeting. Neither should the second or third, for safe measure. You should test the service and make sure you have an understanding of how it works in advance so that you won’t run into any issues when the time to use it comes.
- Consider the background: Make sure you’re aware of your surroundings during the meeting, especially any sources of background noise that could make you difficult to hear. If you’re doing a video conference call, you may not want certain things to be seen behind you by other participants
- Make everyone familiar: Conference calls work best when everyone involved is somewhat familiar. It cuts out time hat would otherwise be spent on introductions and gets straight to the point. It’s also best to find a way to get everyone actively involved in case there’s anyone that isn’t quite as familiar with the group.
- Have an agenda: Being on the phone for personal reasons and for business are two different things. While you may be able to call a friend or family member with no clear talking points in mind, you can’t approach a conference call with the same strategy. For conference calls, it’s best to have a written list of things you plan to talk about and make sure that you say everything that needs to be said.
- Send documents in advance: People retain information different ways. Some are perfectly fine with just hearing what the group has to say over the phone, but some may need visual aids to follow along. Sending necessary documents in advance is a wise decision.
- Record the meeting: The benefit to the meeting being conducted over the phone or computer is that it will be easy to record. The service may even offer a convenient way to record it and save it to your records to refer back to later.
- Take notes: Whether you choose to record the meeting or not, it’s always good to take notes that you can look back on. If something happens with the recording, it’s always good to have a back-up.
- Open for questions: There’s a chance that you didn’t spend enough time on a particular topic or there’s a concern that needs to be addressed. Allowing time for questions at the end of the meeting opens the floor for any missed discussions.