Snow is still on the ground (if not actually falling) in parts across the country, but spring technically has arrived. As employees’ winter blues fade away and anticipation for summer half-days mounts, now is an ideal time to spruce up organizational processes, check on annual goal progress and clear out messy calendars.
Conference calls (including the people, agendas and technology that comprise them) warrant their own dusting by the time Q2 rolls around. Consider these six tips for spring cleaning your conference calls this season:
1. Unclutter your calendars
When was the last time you took a critical look at each conference call invite on your work calendar? More likely than not, there are a few outdated invites still lingering from previous projects or old client relationships. Encourage staff and team members to regularly scrub their calendars for irrelevant placeholders to simplify future scheduling.
2. Cut redundant meetings
Meetings alone account for a sizable chunk of employees’ weeks. Between pre-meeting preparation and post-meeting follow-ups, a 30-minute call can easily translate to an hour or more of work. Attending conference calls that aren’t directly related to your responsibilities or department depletes valuable time and productivity. Rather than reflexively clicking “yes” to every meeting invite, check the agenda and determine if your attendance is truly needed. Show the same restraint when scheduling calls—you won’t hurt any feelings by limiting the group to critical stakeholders.
3. Understand how frequent is too frequent
There are plenty of justifications for recurring conference calls: project check-ins, client status updates, executive team briefings. Just because a meeting happens regularly doesn’t mean it has to be weekly. Depending on the project or group, there might not be enough new information to discuss or action items to assign on a weekly basis.
Call participants may be compelled to meet for an hour regardless, so long as the invite is on their calendar. Take a look at your recurring meetings and identify any that would be more efficient as biweekly or monthly check-ins.
4. Tidy up agendas
Especially for recurring meetings, it’s easy to reuse the same agenda, making minor tweaks as necessary. Though it saves time, it can also lead to items sitting on the agenda for months unaddressed. Dedicate a few minutes to reading through agendas for each of your regular meetings and remove stale points (or push them to top and tackle them once and for all.) Going forward, fill agendas with actionable items that are less prone to sitting stagnant week after week.
5. Evaluate your meeting technology
Based on what you need to accomplish in your meeting, are you using the right tools? If you’d be more productive being able to share a document with everyone instead of emailing it out in advance of the meeting, consider adding web conferencing to your audio-only call.
The login information can be added to your invites with a single click to make it easy for everyone to join. The same goes for adding video, which can make your meeting more engaging and feel like everyone is sitting around a conference room table.
Bonus Tip: Offer an etiquette refresh
By Q2, most companies have brought on a batch of new hires and interns. For newbies and company veterans alike, it’s worth sharing friendly reminders about proper conference call behavior. Occasionally eating during a call or dialing in remotely from noisy public transportation happens to the best of us, but they shouldn’t become repeat offenses. A quick email or workshop that covers basic do’s and don’ts for audio, video and mobile meetings can thwart bad meeting habits from perpetuating throughout the year.
What does your organization do to clean up its conference calls? Add your tips in the comments section.