Hosting a successful conference call is a matter of careful preparation and execution. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts of conference calls to ensure it’s smooth sailing:
- Do check and fix any technical problems before the conference call starts. Participants dropping the call and you constantly fixing the problem is a timesuck. Test and fix potential technical issues beforehand to ensure your conference call is free of interruptions.
- Do start on time. Being late for a conference call is the same thing as being late to a face-to-face meeting. It’s rude, unprofessional, and reflects as unpreparedness and incompetency. Pay respect to people’s time by being punctual.
- Do introduce yourself and guests through a roll call. This is basic among conference call etiquettes which is important whether or not participants have met. Properly establish who you and your colleagues are as well as the agenda of your meeting to avoid any confusion and misunderstanding.
- Do supplement your call with web/video presentations. Increase participants’ interest level by visually enhancing your conference call with an integrated browser-based presentation using ConferTel’s OmniPresent web conferencing service which also allows you to pass the control to others. OmniPresent seamlessly integrates with ConferTel’s audio conferencing service.
- Do allot time for question-and-answers. Q&As are best done at the end of the conference call. It allows participants to clarify topics that were vaguely discussed. This portion also humanizes the meeting, especially if the call is more of a monotonous presentation than a captivating discussion.
- Don’t forget to send participants important reminders prior the conference call. Reminders like “Call in from a noiseless location, state your name before speaking, mute your line while waiting for your turn to speak, put your phones in silent mode” and many more, are all important in making the conference call smooth-flowing, but letting participants know ahead of time is one less task to fulfill on call which saves you extra minutes to discuss more important matters.
- Don’t veer off the agenda. Make sure everything is discussed thoroughly in the allotted time. Always stick to the prepared agenda to stay on path and avoid unnecessary segues if you want to achieve all of your conference call objectives. Know the agenda by heart to prevent straying from the topic.
- Don’t interrupt and talk over participants. Ideas always tend to pop out of the blue, but make sure to let the speaker finish before chiming in – unless he’s dominating the call. Always be mindful and avoid unintentional interjections of others’ chance to speak.
- Don’t attempt to multi-task and focus on the call at all times. It might be tempting to make the most of your time while you’re not the one speaking, but conference calls also require a great deal of undivided attention like a regular face-to-face meeting would. Avoid sidetracks and give your full attention to the conference call at hand. Take notes and keep track of the agenda instead.
- Don’t pause too long. Dead air gives participants the idea of maybe you’re having technical issues. Obviously, you rely on voice only during calls so pauses are awkward and it sometimes gives them confusion. Narrate what you’re doing like “I’m just looking at my notes right now to make sure we got everything.”