A successful conference call can help your team tackle difficult problems, create versatile solutions, or introduce a new client or team member. Whatever the reason behind your call, improving its overall efficiency can help everyone involved feel more satisfied and productive. Conference calls are inherently boring, so here are five tips on how to host a successful conference call that won’t put everyone to sleep.
First and foremost, your call should have focused content. What does that mean, exactly? It means only discussing the things that need to be discussed. You’re not hosting a finance meeting to talk about everything from finance to why Sharon in HR won’t answer your calls. Focus your content so that the meeting only has 1-3 topics to be discussed. Essentially, the more generalized the topic of conversation is, the more derailed your call will become.
It’s also crucial that you know the content inside and out. Don’t go into a conference call with no idea why the business is hemorrhaging money. Do your research on any complex topics beforehand, so that you can enter the call with a base knowledge of what’s being discussed. Going into a call blind pretty much guarantees that your call will be inefficient and unengaging.
Plan ahead for any presentations or important talking points, at least a few days ahead of time. Your callers will respect the fact that you know what you’re talking about and will feel much more comfortable and content with the information if it’s coming from a legitimate source.
2. An Agenda
As with any meeting, a good conference call must have an agenda. An agenda will act as your meeting template; a blueprint so to speak. With an agenda, you’ll be able to plan the topic(s) of discussion, the attendees, as well as the date and time of the call. This is crucial to a successful conference call, as a meeting agenda lays everything out for both you and the potential attendees to see and gives the meeting direction when it starts to wander.
A good agenda will be short and concise, containing only the necessary information. It should also be created and shared with the call’s attendees at least a few days ahead of time to give everyone ample opportunity to prepare or make suggestions. Make sure you iron out the guest list to include only those people who need to attend the call.
The more people you have in your call, the more likely it is to derail and develop side conversations or get off-topic. Disruptions can increase the time of the call, and the longer the call, the more likely your callers are to disengage from the content early. Keep things on track with an agenda that includes a streamlined guest list.
3. The Right Tools
As with any job, the right tools can make all the difference. Whether you’re using a landline or web conferencing software, you want your tools to work. Landlines, while still in use all over the country, are staring death in the face at this point in our technological timeline. The first telephone was invented in 1876, and since then, we’ve seen an enormous transformation in the world of telecommunication.
Where landlines were once the staple of telecommunication, cellphones, digital messaging, and only meeting software are quickly becoming the go-to for businesses everywhere. Digital software is more reliable, affordable, and versatile for the most part, making them an easy choice for small and large businesses alike.
Choose the right tools for your call to ensure you’ll retain consistent call quality, and that everyone can join no matter where they are in the world. Landlines will charge long-distance and multi-caller fees, so choosing online software is a better option if you’re speaking with callers in other countries.
4. The Shorter, The Better
Keep your calls short and sweet for maximum retention and efficiency. The longer your calls or meetings are, the less likely your attendees are to pay attention and retain information effectively. Long meetings are boring and tiresome, and you can’t have your callers falling asleep at the helm! Keep calls within an hour to make them most effective.
Don’t schedule meetings for more than an hour, either. If a caller sees a two-hour window on the agenda, they may enter the call dragging their feet; anxious for the two hours to be over. You’ll rarely ever need more than two hours to get your point across anyway, and you risk callers disengaging the longer you take.
5. Ask for Feedback
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask your callers for feedback. Be sure to ask what they thought the call did well and where it can improve, as well as what they learned from it. Feedback is a valuable source of information and can help you host better calls the next time around.