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Hosting a successful conference call requires good planning and more than a bit of charisma.
Your callers are invested as much in you as they are in the content. Therefore, if you’re speaking in a monotone voice, not being very personable, or being downright rude, you’re creating problems for yourself. Moreover, you’re reducing the effectiveness of the call.
Here are some tips on how to host better conference calls so you can get on the right track for your upcoming call.
Use the Right Tools
A good conference call requires using the right tools for the job. Landlines might still be in use all over the world. However, there are dozens of alternatives that offer a better conference calling experience.
For example, with typical landline services, you’re often charged for long-distance calling, multi-caller services, and more. Even worse, you can’t mute other callers with a typical landline, and you won’t have the option to video call, either.
On the other hand, today’s conference calling tools make for easy online meetings. They streamline the process and give you access to features that will improve your calls. For instance, you’ll be able to add and remove callers from anywhere in the world, mute individual callers, and more.
Plan Ahead for a Successful Conference Call
Plan ahead with a meeting agenda or at least a detailed list of topics to be discussed. This can make for a much more efficient meeting.
However, going into a conference call with no plan or direction can leave the call open to side discussions and distractions. Such a disorganized conference call can even frustrate participants. An organized meeting is an effective one, period.
Your agenda doesn’t have to be complex to be effective, either. Draft an agenda with a pencil on a piece of paper if you like. Even better, type it up on a simple Word document so you can email a copy to the call’s attendees beforehand.
Letting everyone else know the plan ahead of time ensures that each caller enters the meeting with a sense of direction. You wouldn’t want a dozen people entering your conference call with no idea of what’s going on!
Be Personable on the Conference Call
Since you’re the host, it’s up to you to be the unifying factor for all of the callers. You’re the leader of the conference call. As such, you’ll need to be personable in order for your call to reach maximum effectiveness.
Being personable means speaking respectfully with each caller and being genuine. Humor is a good unifying trait, but be sure to keep any attempts at humor workplace-friendly!
Introduce Yourself and the Participants
If you’re hosting a conference call for new clients or even team members, ensuring that everyone knows each other’s names and titles is a vital part of a successful call. Introduce yourself first and state your title in the organization and the reason you’ve organized the call. Next, introduce any newcomers. After that, introduce the rest of the callers.
Introductions help everyone get on the same level and reduce the stress of meeting new people. It will take newcomers a few days’ time to recognize a voice. Therefore, be patient and introduce everyone for at least the next two or three calls.
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Set Time Limits
Whatever topics of discussion you’re addressing in your call, it’s vital that you assign blocks of time to speakers and topics. The meeting should have an overall time limit as well, as meetings that span longer than one hour usually don’t perform well.
Therefore, assign each topic and speaker somewhere around fifteen to twenty minutes each, depending on the amount of information that needs to be addressed.
Your callers will be grateful for a conference call that’s concise and as short as possible. After all, everyone probably has many other responsibilities to attend to. Plus, no one wants to sit in a conference call all day.
Use a timer or simply watch the clock to ensure accuracy, and keep your meetings as short as you possibly can.
Be Polite and Courteous
Conference calling etiquette is a necessity. This is because certain behaviors, such as interrupting or talking over someone else can become distracting or even irritating to everyone on the call.
Keep your wits and your manners about you. If something is said that upsets you, try not to lose control of your emotions on the call. Wait until after the call has ended, then ask the person who upset you for a private conversation.
Being polite goes a long way in establishing good relationships, especially with new clients or team members. Someone who has a bad attitude on a conference call can spoil the entire call for everyone else involved.
A conference call means little if its participants don’t absorb the information that was presented. Encourage the other callers to ask questions about the material and to leave feedback about the call once it’s ended.
Interacting with your callers can help you identify what they understood and what they didn’t. And their feedback can prove invaluable the next time you’re hosting a conference call.
Follow These Tips for Your Next Conference Call
Incorporate these suggestions as you plan for your next conference call, and you’ll be assured of more successful conference calling overall.