Our customers frequently ask for tips to help make their audio conference calls more effective. It isn’t hard and keeping a few best practices in mind will help make the difference between feeling productive and like you just wasted 30 minutes of your time.
Before the Call
- Stay organized and be prepared for your conference call.
- Notify your participants of the date and time of the call. (Have you downloaded InterCall’s Outlook® plug-in to make scheduling your meetings easy by automatically including your conference account details in the calendar invite?)
- Communicate any items that need to be prepared prior to the meeting.
- Send the agenda to your participants.
- Log into InterCall Online to adjust any settings on your account. For instance, if you will have a lot of people in your meeting, you can turn on silent entry so you do not hear continuous beeping as participants join or drop off.
- If you are traveling, download InterCall Mobile Assistant so your account info is stored in your smartphone and you aren’t fumbling for your codes.
Starting the Call
- Be on time or early to your call.
- Have the phone commands easily accessible so you can utilize all of the conference features. These are listed on the back of your wallet card or you can download a quick reference guide.
- Be sure you are in a quiet location where you will not be disturbed and try to minimize background noise.
- Turn off call waiting, pagers and cell phones.
- Conduct a roll call so you know who is there.
- Briefly state the goals of your meeting and the agenda.
- Do not put your phone on hold as this may put music into the conference and prevent others from continuing the meeting.
- If you’re recording your meeting, let everyone know before you press *2 on your phone keypad.
During the Call
- Keep your conference on track by engaging your participants and keeping them informed of upcoming tasks and meetings.
- Say your name before you speak and encourage others to do the same. It is easy to forget that everyone on the call may not be familiar with all the voices.
- Ask for feedback from specific participants instead of the entire group. You’re more likely to get a response instead of silence while everyone waits for someone else to answer.
- Table any discussions that are not relevant to the agenda for a later time and place.
- Try to involve all of the participants in the discussion.
- Promptly deal with any noise or distractions by pressing *0 to request an operator.
- Summarize the issues discussed and recap any action items resulting from the call.
- Establish the day and time for the next conference call.
I hope this helps you to host better meetings so you get more out of them. Have you found other things that make your calls run more smoothly? We’d love to share some more ideas with our users.
Come back next week and I’ll give you some suggestions for improving your line quality.
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