A Conference Call in Real Life – 3 Tips for Productive Meetings

31 Jan A Conference Call in Real Life – 3 Tips for Productive Meetings

It’s funny – because it’s shockingly accurate. Last week, a video created by Tripp and Tyler acted out just how a conference call would go should it be acted out in real life. The result? A hilarious interpretation of a situation we are all far too familiar with.

From people not at all paying attention, to a call dropping, to late arrivals and endless introductions– situations that are apparent in nearly every conference call, yet in person seem all the more ridiculous.

While I know I personally have been on a fair number of calls that really don’t seem to accomplish anything, conference calls can also be a great use of time and exchange of ideas if used as a tool to accomplish goals.

Here are three tips for managing a productive conference call:

1) Prepare – Don’t assume that someone else will take charge allowing you to just merely listen on mute. Even if you are not leading the meeting, it is important to know what you want to get out of it, as well as what others are expecting for you to bring to the table. The more you prepare ahead of time, the less time is wasted on the call. Preparation will likely increase participation among all attendees and you won’t be caught off guard or put on the spot – leading to less anxiety.

Preparation does not just include the content of the call, but also the logistics. Make sure your technology is working correctly, you are able to call in on time and if possible, you are in a quiet place where you can clearly be heard. Nothing is worse than someone calling from a noisy coffee shop, requiring them to stay on mute and not participate or worse, not being on mute and hearing a rumble of distracting background noise.

2) Agendas – Creating an agenda is key to staying on task and staying in the designated time frame. If you are leading the call, make sure you send the agenda to participants well in advance so they have a chance to prepare and have their thoughts and ideas ready.

The most important part of the agenda though? Sticking to it. If you take the time to think about goals and priorities prior to the call, there is no reason to stray from them. It goes without saying that tangents will come up, but by having a rough outline of the call, nothing gets accidentally forgotten or looked over in the discussion. An agenda will also hold participants’ attention and help move the call along at a faster pace. Nothing is worse than a drawn out conference call that doesn’t achieve the end goals.

3) Capture the Meeting – So many topics are covered during the span of a call that without proper notes something is likely to get overlooked. Prior to kicking off the meeting, make sure someone is taking clear notes that capture all of the thoughts and action items that are discussed. Summarize what was accomplished and what still needs to be talked about.

Notes that are then shared with the attendees will not only help to ensure everyone is on the same page with what was gone over during the meeting, but will also help with future meetings as there will be no need for backtracking or recapping.

Kathryn Kaplan
kkaplan@speakerboxpr.com
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