Conference calls are a part of almost every business, but so much can go wrong during a meeting if everyone is in different places. You might encounter technical difficulties, people might forget to log into the meeting or a major misunderstanding could slip through the cracks. There is, however, plenty you can do to keep these issues at bay. In addition to providing comfortable and functional conference suites equipment, you can put in the time to prepare for the meeting, test the equipment and structure your presentation in a productive way.
Preparing for the Meeting
Perhaps the most important groundwork for a successful meeting is to give everyone else the means to prepare too. Create an agenda and send it out to all the participants. This list of items to cover can be as detailed or broad as you like, but it should encompass all of the talking points you intend to cover. You also need to decide if you want to include a section at the end for questions and answers. This can be helpful if you’ve just discussed a complicated new procedure, but if you only updated sales numbers, a Q&A might not be necessary.
Another important consideration is to set a duration time for the call. This can keep people from speaking at length about issues that aren’t pertinent to the meeting. It also helps people who may have scheduled appointments around the call not to interject to let you know they’re jumping off the line.
Conducting the Meeting
Before you can start any conference call, you must ensure the moderator has joined if it isn’t you. It’s best to have the moderator join 10 or 15 minutes before the call starts so they can welcome participants as they join and get things rolling as soon as possible. You also want to be sure to start the call on time. As already mentioned, people schedule their days around conference calls, and starting promptly at the scheduled time helps everyone’s day move smoothly.
As you get into the nitty-gritty of your presentation, be sure to keep your points succinct and ask for questions or feedback often. This will help to eliminate any misunderstandings and give you a chance to adjust as you go so you don’t spend time speaking about something everyone disagrees on.
Conference calls can be an incredibly effective means of conducting business when not everyone can be in the same room. Making advance preparations can help everything go smoothly.