As we have mentioned previously, many small businesses manage remote employees from all over the country. One way to effectively manage and motivate these remote employees is to have frequent conference calls to connect with faraway individuals. If they are handled well, conference calls can enhance productivity, build employee and customer relationships, improve project management, grow sales and consumer loyalty, and reduce overall costs to your company.
Despite all these obvious benefits, some conference calls turn out to be infuriating and embarrassing technological blunders. Here are some tips to streamline the conference calls your business has and make them easier for everyone involved.
1. Create and provide an agenda.
Creating and then circulating an agenda for the conference call beforehand will help format and structure the meeting. People like to know what is planned ahead of time, so they will appreciate that you've laid the plan for the conference call out for them. This is particularly helpful if you want to have an open discussion with your employees. Posing certain talking points or questions in your agenda will help the participants plan what they want to say or add to the conversation.
2. Lead the call.
Efficient leadership of the conference call will ensure that it occurs smoothly. Introduce yourself, or, if the call is regularly scheduled, jump right into a summary of what you want to discuss during this call. Remember, though: establishing leadership with your voice means you need to communicate clearly and be careful with your word choice, to ensure everyone understands you.
3. Involve everyone.
If this is your first conference call with a certain set of people, introduce yourself and then have everyone else introduce themselves. If all the individuals know each other already, pose a simple question such as "How was everyone's weekend?" This will break the ice and engage everyone involved in the call.
4. Share the floor.
Though a leader should be established, as stated above, it is not necessary for the leader to hog the floor throughout the entire call. Unless you are presenting something, you should listen respectively and don't interrupt. Give everyone a chance to share their perspective.
5. Avoid distractions and don't multitask.
Make sure everyone on the call finds a quiet place with little feedback noise. Try to avoid shuffling your papers or tapping your pen. In addition, turn off your electronic devices and resist the urge to check your email while someone else is talking. Anything that would be off-limits in a face-to-face meeting should be off-limits in a conference call.
6. Provide time for questions.
About 5 minutes before the end of the meeting, let everyone know that they can ask questions if they have any. This allows all the participants of the conference call to clarify parts of the discussion or ask the leader a question.
7. End the call effectively.
Thank everyone for their participation, and let them know when you are hanging up from the call. Also, if you were using a recording device or summary, let them know if they will be sent a copy or transcript. You should also provide the time and date for the next meeting, if necessary.
Like any meeting, conference calls need to be run well so participants stay engaged and the meeting remains an effective use of everyone’s time. Conference calls can be useful and productive for many small or online businesses. To have an effective conference call, remember these 7 tips and you’ll find them to be a useful method for meeting with others.
What are your tips for leading a conference call? What is your experience with their success? Post your thoughts in the comment section below!