Some companies have been relying on conference calls for years, using audio and video technology to meet with business partners, staff, and clients when it isn’t feasible to be face to face.
When the coronavirus hit, these types of meetings quickly became the norm, ensuring smoother (and healthier) business operations during such a restrictive time.
Just as there are certain things you can do to increase the success of an in-person meeting, there are also things you can do to make your audio or video meeting successful as well.
Create a ‘Conference Call Best Practices’ Handout
Even if you’ve been involved in a number of conference calls in the past, don’t assume that all attendees have been as well. Providing a ‘Best Practices’ handout before the conference call helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what to do. This minimizes distractions and disruptions during the call itself.
Start on Time
Just because a conference call eliminates a need to commute, thus saving time, this doesn’t mean that the meetings can start late. Beginning the call on time shows that you respect all of the attendees enough to not make them sit and wait for others to show up.
Record the Meeting
One major benefit of doing meetings by conference call is that most platforms allow you to record the session. This enables people who can’t attend at the given time access to the information provided. It also reduces the risk of misinterpretation as sections of the meeting can be replayed if any confusion exists.
Ask Non-Speakers to Mute
When people are working from home—or any other location for that matter—sometimes background noise can get in the way. To keep this type of disruption to a minimum, ask people to mute themselves when they aren’t speaking. This helps everyone better hear the person who is.
Encourage Use of the Chat Sidebar
Sometimes people develop questions throughout the meeting, yet they don’t want to disrupt the speaker to ask. Choosing a conference call platform that has a chat option allows attendees to post their questions in the online meeting room for the speaker to handle at a later time.
Use Graphics to Enhance Effect
If you hold a lot of conference calls with your coworkers or staff, it can be easy for the attendees to lose interest. They start to tune out what you’re saying as their mind drifts to other items on their to-do list. Keep this from happening in your conference calls by doing them via video and using graphics to enhance your most important ideas and topics. This keeps attendees engaged and interested in the meeting itself.
Do a Roundtable at the End
For conference calls involving three or more people, end with a roundtable where you ask each person if they have anything to say or ask if they have a question. Giving each person the opportunity to speak shows that you want to make sure each person understands the information you shared. It’s also helpful to those who are a bit introverted and don’t like to speak up.