Your company probably depends on conference calls these days, given the restrictions from the pandemic. Some businesses have had to move operations entirely offsite, which means communicating, organizing projects, and discussing business in an entirely different way. Emails are one thing, but without the ability to talk in person or see the person’s face, emails can sometimes feel less human.
Luckily for us, there are hundreds of conference calling services available online to meet those new communication needs. Whether you’re organizing your next sales meeting, client pitch meeting, or company policy meeting, modern tools make it easier and more convenient than ever.
However, there are still some tips you’ll want to follow if you’re going to make the most out of your calls. Here’s how to have more productive conference calls.
Start With Being Organized
Whether you’re the host of the call or just an attendee, staying organized is half the battle when it comes to good conference calls. If you’ve ever been in a call with a host who was far from organized, you know exactly what I mean by that. An unorganized person can derail the call, or, at the very least, cause productivity to slow to a grueling pace. And no one wants to stay in meetings all day, especially if it’s because someone wasn’t ready!
Start by being more organized. Are you usually late to the call? Set yourself more than one reminder, or set your meeting time for a half-hour before it actually starts. Being late is not only disruptive, but if you’re too late, the callers might feel like you’re wasting their time. This is especially harmful to new or existing clients, but it can affect your employees, too.
Being on time is only one facet of staying punctual and organized. You’ll also need to take more time to prepare for your calls, so you’re not going in blind. If you’re the call organizer, you should absolutely be using an agenda for every call.
Using An Agenda
Agendas are some of the most useful tools at your disposal when it comes to conference calls. You can organize the contents of your call, the materials needed, and even the people who will attend. A good agenda includes the guest list, call goals, date, time, and call-in number or web link to the call.
Agendas are like a blueprint for the call. Without one, you might be able to get something done, but you’ll never have a successful and productive call if you don’t even know what you’re going to talk about! Don’t forget to set goals for each call to help point everyone in the same direction.
The Service Matters
There are plenty of online services to choose from, but the one you choose can make a huge difference in the success or failure of your calls. Sure, you can opt for free services like Skype, but does that really give you what your business needs? Especially when there are so many premium options out there that provide ample tools and features to take your calls to the next level?
Good conference calling services do more than just connect two or more parties for a conference call. Some services include cloud storage, extra features like operator-assisted calling, and even HD video conferencing.
Choosing the right service for your business will most certainly come down to budget, but don’t choose the cheapest service out there, either. Do your research and compare features before you make a final decision.
Keep Distractions To A Minimum
This tip applies to everyone in the call. Distractions come in all shapes and sizes, from Jacob tapping his pen on his desk to Mary fumbling with her microphone to Tammy’s dog barking in the background. Whatever the case may be, the truth remains: distractions are the death of productivity.
Distractions should be kept to a minimum on your end, and, if you’re the call organizer, you should familiarize yourself with the mute button. You can mute anyone in the call should they become too distracting. Jacob’s pen can be silenced, and Tammy’s dog won’t bother you any longer. Don’t be afraid to mute others out of the fear of being rude; they’re the ones being rude by subjecting everyone in the call to their background noise.
You’ll also want to find yourself a space that’s free of distractions, so you’re not constantly elsewhere during the conversation. If you have trouble focusing, try joining an online conference call via your computer, and leave your phone in another room. Or, vice versa. Use your phone to call into the conference call instead of using the computer, so you don’t wind up just scrolling Facebook or Reddit.
The Bottom Line
You want your conference calls to be as productive as possible, but in order to achieve that, you need to make a few adjustments. Be as organized as you possibly can, don’t be afraid to use that mute button, and always use an agenda for every call. Remember—the service matters, too. Do your research. Don’t settle for the first thing that comes your way.