Everyone has been on a conference call in their work lives. For many people, they have at least one a week. For others, 2-3 a day.
One thing I’ve noticed is that it can be difficult to run a conference call well. There is no training but it is really important.
Here are my tips on how to run a proper conference call.
1) Pre-call – Before the call, make sure that a meeting invite has
been sent (not just an email). Make sure to include the call-in
number and codes. And an agenda with what is to be covered and any pre-reading materials. Make sure this pre-call agenda has a reminder to pop-up 15 minutes before actual call.
2) Who is on the call – It's important to know who is on the call. If the conference call is small, go quickly around the call and ask who is on the line. If a large call, read off the list of RSVPs and ask
them to say present and then ask if you missed anyone. Nothing is worse than asking people to introduce themselves on a large call and everyone is stepping on each other
3) Diving into Agenda – I love when there is a clear agenda with times (10 minutes for X, then 10 minutes for Y) and the meeting moderator holds them. If a conversation is especially important and going longer, that's fine. But in general, I've been in too many conference calls where people are belaboring a point and it's time to move on. So make sure you get to all the items on the agenda and aren't rushed at the end.
4) Bring in Participants - Especially if the meeting is a blend of in-person and offsite on a conference call, it can be easy for folks to be left out. As a moderator, directly ask for feedback from folks offsite. In general, make time to call out and ask for contributions from the shy folks.
5) Wrap-up – Spend last 5 minutes wrapping up results of call and who has next steps. Let’s make sure we didn’t just waste a bunch of time
6) Follow-Up - Within 1 day of the meeting (ideally couple hours), send an email follow-up to the attendees with the summary of what was covered (for folks who missed it), who has next steps, and time for next call (and send that invite out)
What is your conference call tip? Or pet peeve?
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