5 Keys to Better Conference Calls

As remote work opportunities become more common, successful businesses have come to understand that effective conference calls are key to keeping staffs connected and engaged. But, calls you’re your team can be difficult to manage without the right process and techniques. Here are seven key steps for better conference calls.

1. Prepare in advance
Participating in a conference call that has no clear direction is detrimental to morale. Employees want to feel as if you value their time, and the best way to do that is through preparation. When you schedule a conference call, create an agenda with key points and the time needed to discuss. Distribute the agenda to participants with a list of items they need to bring to the call, so they are not caught off guard. Encourage them to ask questions before the meeting and are fully prepared.

2. Test any technology
Test your conference call or screen sharing services in advance. This way, you avoid technical issues that can delay the meeting or frustrate participants. If there are specific key combinations to mute and unmute, share these with participants in advance to limit distractions.

3. Set expectations for participation
Silence isn’t always negative, but if it lasts too long, it can impact the meeting results. Set expectations in advance for participation by assigning an agenda topic to each participant. If you find the conversation is lacking, ask questions to provoke thought and conversations and keep everybody engaged.

4. Save non-agenda items for the end
Even with an agenda, conference calls can get off topic because another key point is brought up, or an urgent matter has come to light after the agenda was created. Save non-agenda items for the end of the call during open discussion time. This gives everybody a chance to finalize thoughts, ask questions or present ideas about other items.

5. Send a meeting recap
To avoid any oversights, send a follow-up email to all participants that outlines the discussion, identifies any responsibilities assigned, a project timeline, and the date and time of future meetings.

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