Professional interests

How to master conference calls

I am by no means an expert on teleconferencing but my present job involves a lot of calls, local and international, short and long. When I started chairing conference calls almost two years ago, I found the experience  to be quite challenging, from being nervous, to getting distracted with late joiners and forgetting to outline key action points.

I’m  pleased to say that since then my skills have improved (hopefully my call attendees think so too!) and I thought it’d be useful to outline some useful tips that, in my view, contribute to a successful teleconferencing experience.

Short conference calls – small group of people

  1. Allow 30 seconds to 1 minute to let everyone join the call
  2. Check who joined the call – call out individual names to confirm if invited attendees have joined
  3. If someone joined a call whilst you are talking, finish your message and then ask who joined the call
  4. If you’re doing most of the talking, ask for regular feedback from other participants. I find that calling out individual names helps as people are more likely to contribute to the call
  5. Finish off by confirming the agreed action points and ask if anyone has further questions.

Long conference calls – large group of people

  1. Print off a list of all attendees prior the call, tick off the names as people join
  2. Aim to start a call within 2-3 minutes so not to keep the users waiting for too long
  3. Break the call into specific sections and ask for questions and/or feedback after each section has finished
  4. If someone else is presenting during the call, try to ask them questions to prompt further conversation
  5. If not sharing your screen during a call, do let everyone know which slide you’re on so attendees are able to follow your thoughts

These are some of the steps I am taking to ensure my conference calls run smoothly. There’re a lot of tips available from teleconference companies such as Powwownow as well as useful advice from Forbes and Entrepreneur.

Do let me know if you have useful tips on successful teleconferencing.

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