We’ve all had dreadful conference calls. You know the kind – the ones that drag on forever without accomplishing much at all, the ones where you get static, echoes and the sound of someone eating their lunch, the ones that get dominated by one speaker. Now that joining conference calls and online meetings from your mobile phone is easier than ever before, here are 10 tips on making them more productive.
1. Share the agenda with all participants
Would you call a meeting if you didn’t have an agenda? No! Why waste the time? Send the agenda early on so the participants will have time to prepare before the call. You will get more done when everyone is prepared. Agendas will also keep participants focused and allow for easy transitions.
2. Start on time
Waiting for everyone irritates those who were on time and rewards the laggards. Instead, reward those who were on time by starting the call when it was scheduled.
3. Have everyone introduce themselves
As a way of easing into the discussion, have everyone say their name, role and location. Participants will feel more comfortable when they know whom they’re addressing.
4. Gently remind everyone to mute their phone when not speaking
Odds are someone will be dialing in via their mobile phone, on speakerphone, or both! Eliminate the sounds of static, echoes and background noise by having everyone mute their lines. Remind landline callers not to place the call on hold and remind everyone to unmute themselves before speaking. Become familiar with how to mute with your conference call setup.
5. Address everyone by their name and role or location
If participants are unfamiliar with each other, refer to everyone by their name and location, i.e. “How do you see this, Nancy in New York?” This way everyone knows who’s talking and gives perspective to their comments.
6. If the call is scheduled for over an hour plan for breaks
Participants will need time to freshen up – get some water or coffee, use the restroom. Scheduling these breaks avoids a disruption during an important discussion.
7. Keep notes on who is and isn’t contributing
Encourage everyone to contribute. Quiet participants may need some persuading.
8. Summarize and review actions
At the end of the meeting, summarize the findings and ask each participant to go over their action items. This will bring everyone to the same page and let everyone know what to expect from each other.
9. Share meeting notes with all participants
Make sure everyone receives a summary of the meeting including the list of attendees, what was discussed, a brief summary and action steps. This will help everyone reference the meeting and keep track of their action items.
10. Dial into your conference with MobileDay
Don’t get worked up before the meeting digging around your email looking for the dial-in info and then trying to dial all those codes! Let MobileDay dial you in with just one touch and make it simple to set up conference calls! MobileDay is a free conference calling app for iPhone and Android. http://mobileday.com for more info.
Thanks for reading. Have you got more great conference call tips? Please leave a comment and add to the discussion.