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How to hold effective conference calls

Teleconferencing is an incredibly valuable tool for companies. It’s time and cost effective, it enables you to reach out to a large number of people at the same time, you can hold team meetings with staff regardless of where they are in the world and you can effectively communicate and do business with international customers.

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In order to enjoy the greatest possible success from conference calling, it’s important to know how to hold effective calls so below we have highlighted exactly how to do this.

  • It’s easy to waste time in meetings regardless of whether they’re conducted face-to-face or over the phone. In order to avoid half of your conference call being spent organising everyone, ensure that you have a clear agenda set out. Send this to everyone who will be participating along with the time, date, any documents that are relevant, who will be attending and the PIN if one is required. Organising all of this beforehand prevents misunderstandings and ensures that everyone is ready to get started promptly.
  • Decide on a call moderator. It’s much easier to retain control in a face-to-face meeting because there’s normally one person who takes the lead. Conference calls can easily lack direction however because people can get distracted by other things going on around them or they may be trying to get on with other work while half-heartedly listening to the call. A call moderator can ensure that everyone is participating and that the topic doesn’t digress to matters that are irrelevant. This can save valuable time and lead to far more effective conference calls.
  • Ask someone to take notes. Asking someone to record what was discussed during the call prevents everyone from walking away and forgetting everything that was discussed. If ideas were shared and there were points to be actioned, make sure these are recorded and allocated to the relevant person so that they get completed.
  • Avoid slideshows. It may seem like a good idea to include a visual when running a conference call but they can actually be very distracting. You have no control over what people are looking at and when they’re looking at it. Furthermore, you can guarantee that most people will skip ahead and be reading something completely irrelevant to what you’re discussing.

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  • Use video calls if possible. Conference calls are great but they’re even better if you can add the video element. Being able to see someone feels more personal, it boosts engagement and you can ensure that participants aren’t getting distracted by something else.
  • Avoid dialling in from a mobile phone. It may not always be possible but try to avoid dialling in from a mobile if you can. This often leads to buzzing on the line, people can drop out because of bad coverage and batteries can die mid-sentence. Also try to avoid making the call in noisy areas because it can make it very difficult for you and everyone else to hear what’s being said.
  • Set a time limit. Meetings have a habit of going on for longer than they should and conference calls are no exception to this. Make sure you set a finish time so that you can ensure that everything gets covered and nobody goes off topic.