Because of the internet, distance really has no impact on how we conduct business or communicate with people around the globe. Communication technologies have enabled face-to-face digital communication, even with people who are thousands of miles apart.
Conference calls have had a serious impact on communication. Thanks to conference call services, not only can you have an audio-based conversation, but there’s also the option to have video-based communication as well. Conference call services also offer other features such as document sharing and whiteboarding.
Are you interested in organizing a conference call with a client, investor, or a remote team, but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered! Here’s everything you need to know to organize an effective conference call.
Create an Agenda
First things first, create an agenda. In order to discuss everything that needs to be discussed, you’ll want to have an agenda of what topics need to be addressed along with any questions or impending deadlines. By preparing topics ahead of time, you can ensure that the conference call is effective and meaningful for everyone involved.
You may also find it beneficial to share the agenda with conference call attendees ahead of time. This way everyone can prepare their own thoughts and questions before the call.
Choose the Best Time
Timing is everything. As with a traditional meeting, you don’t want to hold a conference call too early or too late. Be mindful of everyone’s schedule and do your best to find a time that works for all of your attendees.
If you’ll have participants from around the globe, account for any time zone differences. By choosing the best time to meet, you’re less likely to have people miss the call or dial in 20 minutes after the conversation has already started.
Notify Conference Call Participants
We all lead busy lives. It’s all too easy to forget about a conference call that was scheduled weeks ago. To ensure everyone is aware of when the conference call is happening, send calendar invites to all attendees.
In the calendar invite be sure to provide the:
- Call time
- Call in number (with PIN)
- Any documentation that will be discussed
By providing this information in a calendar invite, you’re able to give all attendees ample time to plan and prepare for the call. You may also want to send a reminder email a day or two before the call to ensure the time and agenda still works for everyone.
Choose the Right Place
This applies for everyone partaking in the conference call. Ideally you want participants to join the call from a quiet location. There’s nothing more distracting than having to hear background noise from someone else’s microphone. Encourage attendees to call in from a quiet place, such as an office.
If attendees must call from a public venue, ask them to mute their microphone so that their background noise doesn’t interfere with the quality of the conference call.
You don’t want to dial in late to a conference call that you scheduled. Just as you’d want to be early for a traditional in-office business meeting, you want to be punctual for your conference call as well.
Dial in a few minutes early and ensure that everything is working as planned. This way you have time to address any issues before the conference call begins. Make sure that the passcode is still correct and that no last minute changes were made.
Conference calls should never be one-sided. You want to encourage everyone to share their ideas and to ask any questions that they have. To encourage people to participate, set aside time after each topic for discussion.
You can also encourage attendees to participate by asking questions and letting participants know that you value their opinions. To minimize attendees talking over one another, ask everyone to pause a few seconds after they’ve finished speaking to account for any visual or audio delays.
Take Notes and Follow Up
Once the conference call is complete, you’ll want to wrap up the entire event by sending out post-call notes. Your notes should include things such as decisions that were made, tasks and who they’re assigned to. You’ll also want to notate any questions or topics that will be discussed in the next conference call.
Providing post-call notes is a great way to ensure everyone is on the same page and to get everyone thinking about the next conference call.
Consider sharing post-call notes using a collaborative environment, this way attendees can add any information that you may have missed.
Though it may seem straight-forward, there are many nuances to organizing a successful conference call. Keep these tips and tricks in mind to make the most out of every call that you host. Happy communicating!