If you own a growing business, conducting regular phone conference calls is bound to become a necessity anytime soon.
A phone conference call is a type of call where the caller wishes for more than one party to listen in on the conversation.
Many businesses have today adopted conference calling as their preferred mode of communication. You can easily keep in touch with clients, employees, and investors who are spread out around the globe.
It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to conduct a business meeting, especially if the participants would otherwise be forced to globe trot just to attend.
But how do you ensure a successful business conference call? If not well moderated, a conference call can quickly become a disaster and a complete waste of time for all participating individuals.
Here are 10 tips you can use to avoid such an unfortunate scenario.
1. Always plan ahead of your business phone conference call
Which topics do you want to discuss during the call?
Having an agenda helps to prioritize your topics of discussion and structure the call appropriately.
Without a plan, it’s quite easy to deviate from what you wanted to discuss in the first place.
Coming up with an agenda and sending it out before hand is part of the planning process.
This way, everyone participating in the phone conference call will know the purpose of the call, how long it will take, and what preparations they’re expected to make.
2. Keep time
Arriving late for meetings is disrespectful and shows how little you value your time and that of others.
We always recommend dialing in a few minutes early.
You might find yourself facing a time-wasting technical glitch. But that’s no reason to dial in late for a call which was scheduled weeks before in advance.
You also don’t want to be the reason behind a stalled business conference call. This will negatively impact your clients’ or employees’ impression of you.
3. Kick off with a quick introduction
The first item on your agenda should actually be a brief introduction.
Let everyone state their names before speaking.
If you’re speaking with people who you’ve never met before, it’s important to also state which organization you represent, the role you play, and your location.
4. Your background matters
Conference calls are best taken in private away from the distractions of crowds.
Being in a noisy environment makes it hard to listen in on the conversation and contribute effectively. Minimize background noise as much as possible.
Some common background distractions include:
- Children going stark raving mad in the house.
- Standing in the wind.
- Having side conversations during the conference call.
When you’re not contributing, mute your phone to avoid any embarrassing background noises.
5. Get familiar with your conference call service provider
Are you using a conference call service to manage your business audio calls?
These companies keep the conference bridge up-and-running. They also provide codes and phone numbers which call participants will use to access the conference call.
Different service providers usually offer different interactive features and tools to use.
Spend some time getting familiar with the system’s features a few hours before the business conference call.
6. Hey, you! Stop daydreaming
Focus! It’s embarrassing to have a question directed at you when you have no clue of what’s going on.
This also reflects negatively on the business you’re trying hard to build.
When you’re being pounded by unread emails in your inbox, more work piling up, and inquisitive coworkers it can be quite challenging to pay attention.
Keep phones, laptops, and any other distracting devices away during an active call.
Multitasking is the perfect recipe for a disastrous phone conference call.
7. Jot down important points
This will help you stay focused especially on those long conference calls.
For the sake of future reference, keep notes on all important points discussed during the call.
Always have a notebook and a pen with you before the conference call kicks off.
When you make notes, you get a better understanding of each participating individual and what they bring to the table in terms of ideas.
You can make better conference call notes the more you practice.
8. Everyone should get a chance to participate
Ask open-ended questions. This will encourage participation from every attendee.
This shows you value and respect everyone’s opinion. If you don’t involve some, they’ll easily drift away from the conversation and start daydreaming.
Good news is some conference call service providers are offering features which require active participation from all participants. These include:
- Opinion polls.
- Q&A sessions.
9. Try not to interrupt
Jump in only when you’re sure it’s your turn to speak.
The best way to minimize chaos on a conference call is by capping participation to a maximum of 4 people.
The more people there are in a conference call, the harder it is to contribute without interrupting someone.
10. Don’t deviate from the agenda
A conference call is not the best time for banter or showcasing your humorous side.
Follow your agenda to the letter. When you start discussing topics which weren’t in the circulated agenda, you risk losing participation.
And the attentiveness of your participants too.
First, let the moderator cover all the pertinent issues on the agenda. And if there’s still time left, later on, people can discuss matters not on the agenda.
Conference calls seem pretty straight forward on paper.
But a small technological glitch or a poor plan can paint your business in a bad light and ruin your reputation. That’s why planning ahead is an unwritten rule.
A business conference call is a wonderful tool for collaborating long distance communication within your organization. Like all aspects of corporate culture, there are clear-cut rules of conduct to follow when on a conference call. That’s the only way you can consistently keep holding successful conference calls.
If you have more tips on how to make a successful business conference call, we’d like to hear from you.
Before you rush off to go make that call, leave us a comment below! Or fill out our conferencing needs form and let us help you make conference calls at compelling prices!