For businesses with a widely dispersed or international workforce, or for those looking to cut down on travel expenses, staging, and accommodation fees when holding meetings, workshops, or seminars, conference calls are a sensible and cost-effective solution.
But how can you be sure of getting the most out of these conference call meetings? Here are some recommendations:
Create An Agenda
Create an agenda for the meeting, with itemized discussion points and a provisional time-frame. You may not stick to this exactly, but at least it will help in keeping the call on track, and reduce the chances of it hyper-extending.
Spread The Word
You should distribute this agenda in advance of the call, to all the conference participants. Printed documents for people at your site, and email messages for distant delegates are options.
If you’re subscribed to a hosted PBX (private branch exchange) telephone system, you can send out notifications via the platform’s integrated mobile apps.
Prepare The Necessary Material
Before the call, spend some time to prepare notes, images, sounds, and video relevant to the discussion topic – so long as they help to advance the point, rather than distracting from the conversation.
Be On Time
As the host of a conference call, you should check into the virtual venue as early as possible. This will give you time to check that all the required technology is in place, and allows you to see your conference guests as they arrive.
If you’re a conference delegate, you should endeavor to be a little bit early (five to ten minutes will usually suffice). At least be on time – but if you have to be late for any reason, try not to disturb the flow of the discussion, and use whatever channels are available to catch up on what’s been said.
Minimize Noise And Distractions
Choose a quiet place to take the call, so as not to be distracted by outside activity or noise.
Stay On Topic
Try to keep the discussion focused on the conference agenda, and its relevant points.
Use Appropriate Technology
VoIP telephony systems with Unified Communications (UC) capabilities give you access to whiteboards, screen-sharing tools, video conferencing, and various other features to assist in demonstrating important points, and providing tools for discussion, questions, and collaboration.
Get Everyone Involved
Keep an eye on the participants to see who’s present, who’s contributing, and who isn’t. Feed relevant cues or questions to delegates who haven’t yet joined the discussion, to get them involved.
As conference host or participant, have a pen and paper or digital notepad handy, to jot down interesting points, or issues that need clarification.
Do A Recap
To round up the conference call, give a recap of the salient points. This will help clarify what’s just been said, and catch up any latecomers on what they might have missed.
Record For Posterity
Within the bounds of privacy law, make a recording of the call. Transcripts or podcasts may be posted online or emailed to the participants, and other interested parties.
Remember also that conference call facilities aren’t just for lectures and discussions. Business managers and workgroups can use them to share information, make announcements, and co-ordinate projects. A cloud-hosted VoIP platform provides the tools and network availability which are ideal for this.
If you’d like to learn more about conference call meetings or hosted VoIP, get in touch with the experts at net2phone.