Are your conference calls the dread of your company? Are they boring, tedious, and unorganized? A bad conference call can leave your participants feeling exhausted and leave you wondering what you can do to keep everyone engaged. Truth be told, hosting better conference calls isn’t rocket science, but it does require some specific attention to areas like your meeting agenda, conferencing tools, and the level of control you exert over the call itself.
Whether you’re hosting a one time conference call or you’re the host of several calls each month, this guide will help you host better calls, keep callers engaged and interacting with one another, and save you some time along the way. Ready to get started? Let’s dive deeper into the world of better conference calls.
First Thing’s First: Your Tools
Before we dive into agendas and muting obnoxious callers, we need to look at a fundamental piece of the puzzle: the tool you’re using to host your conference calls. Yes, we’re talking about your outdated landline. It’s just that; outdated. The truth is, landlines are disappearing from businesses all over the world. With mobile phones, internet-based conferencing services, and desktop software, the days of sitting on a landline conference call are nearly behind us.
Web-based conferencing services offer several advantages to their static counterparts, including
- More secure calls
- More call control
- Better pricing
- Screen sharing and video chat software
- Call recording
- Cloud storage
- Screen sharing
- File sharing
- No long-distance fees
- Up to 1,000 callers in some cases
- International connectivity
- Easier access
These are just a few of the many advantages you’ll notice with mobile conferencing. The bottom line? It’s time to leave the landline where it belongs…in the past! The world is moving to a more digitalized calling platform, and you should, too!
What’s Your Agenda Look Like?
Agenda? What agenda? If this was your answer, it’s time to remedy this situation. An agenda is perhaps the most crucial component of better conference calls. Without one, you’re more likely to end up going off-course, derailing the conversation, and not achieving any real results. An agenda is like a compass in the sea of conversation, helping to guide the callers toward a common goal.
So, what does an agenda look like? Do you need special software to create a good agenda? Do you need to download anything? While you can certainly benefit from meeting agenda templates, they’re not a requirement. Generally, an agenda should contain the following information:
- Guest list
- Topics to be covered
- Meeting time/place (or call-in number/web link)
Sounds simple, right? Most people hear the word “agenda” and imagine some complex sheet of paper with all kinds of information, times, etc. An agenda can be anything from a hand-written note to an email to a completed agenda template. All that matters is that you use one for your calls.
Don’t forget to send the agenda to your participants as well. If you’re the host of the call, it’s your responsibility to ensure that everyone knows what the call is about!
Become Friendly With The Mute Button
The mute button is simply the most effective tool at your disposal when you’re in a conference call. Why? Because background noise is obnoxious and distracting. We’ve all been in a conference call where Debrah’s husband is in the background yelling about dinner and Bob’s dog won’t stop barking in his ear. Imagine trying to listen to a serious presentation with a child’s laughter in the background. It would be pretty difficult, right?
The mute button can solve most of your meeting issues with one press. If you’re using digital conferencing software, you can even mute other people! If you’re the host, you can mute them for just you or for everyone. Take that, Bob’s dog!
Interrupting someone while they’re talking isn’t only rude, it’s also disruptive to the call. Most of the time when you interrupt, the person you interrupted has to go back and finish their point after you’ve given your two cents. Try to refrain from speaking until the speaker is finished!
That being said, there are some times when it’s appropriate to interrupt. Some people end up going off on a tangent during a conference call, and it becomes necessary to interrupt them for the sake of time. Just use your common sense when it comes to interrupting others and only do it when it’s absolutely necessary. You wouldn’t want someone to constantly interrupt you, would you?
Conference calls can either be incredibly productive or incredibly unproductive. This all depends on the tools you’re using, the control you have over the call, call etiquette, the use of an agenda, and your relationship with the mute button. Consider using online conferencing calls instead of a landline for a better, more secure call experience.