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Here's how to simplify your team's conference calls

Here's how to simplify your team's conference calls

What if your team’s next conference call was something everyone looked forward to? Not possible, you say? Well, we are here to show you that you are wrong.

By simplifying your team’s conference calls, you can actually make them much more productive, efficient and enjoyable.

If you’re not sure where to begin, then you have come to the right place. It all starts with a great free conference call service and the know-how of organizing and leading an engaging and motivating over-the-phone meeting.

Implement these tips that we have collected for making your conference calls more efficient, productive - and enjoyable - and you will be on your way to conference calls that quickly become highlights of the day, week or whenever the team is asked to hop on a conference call.

1. Have clear expectations

Good leaders know that teams don’t do well when left in the dark on goals and what needs to be accomplished. That is why, when planning a conference call, organizers and managers need to set clear expectations about what will be discussed over the phone and what sort of contributions and input they are seeking.

Is the call more of an information session that call organizers will lead? Is there specific information that those invited to dial in should be prepared to bring to the table, so to speak? Is this more of a question and answer session where those on the call will have opportunities to seek answers? How much time will everyone be given to speak if they want to?

These are all questions people you are asking to call in may have - so provide them with a little more info to help them feel ready.

Whatever the reason for the conference call, make sure to let teams know. Prepare them for the call by giving an overview of what you are looking for, too.

2. Create an organized agenda

We are huge proponents of writing better conference call agendas. Now, a good agenda is not simply a list of talking points that will be covered.

Instead, give your team a little more to go on. Define a clear purpose for the call. If that purpose is accomplished, then the meeting was a success. It’s pretty simple.

If you need someone else to speak during the conference call, then include that on the agenda by the item that they will need to discuss. This helps that team member prepare themselves and won’t come as a surprise.

Finally, agendas help track time. Be sure to set enough time for the entire call and include estimates of how much time each discussion point will need.

But keep the call simple. Don’t get stuck in the weeds. Don’t be afraid to table discussions that go too long, either.

To wrap up this point, agendas help make sure everyone’s time is respected.

3. Start on time. End on time.

Related to the previous point about agenda’s, a simple conference call does not cause unnecessary headaches by starting late or running long.

Establish a set time for the call to begin - and stick to it. Similarly, set a duration - and stick to it.

Your team will thank you. Respecting their time could also earn you a little respect, too.

4. Use the mute button

Don’t let other noises create distractions during the call. In a perfect world, everyone who joins a conference call can find a quiet, out-of-the-way location to call in. But that is too often easier said than done.

This is where the mute feature of your phone - or conference call service - comes in handy. When you are not talking or expected to talk, simply switch on the mute feature and any noise in the background won’t bother other call participants. Take some time before the actual call meeting begins to share this tip with others on the phone - or include it in the agenda.

On a related note, find a free conference call service that includes a feature that allows hosts to mute everyone except the speaker. For example, Conference Town has a presentation mode that prevents the main speaker from being interrupted. This feature auto mutes all callers except the one who is presenting.

5. Pick a leader who can lead the call

Somebody has to steer the ship. This is true in many business scenarios and conference calls are no different. Identify a leader, a manager or team lead, perhaps, who can be included on the conference call planning and knows how to keep groups of people on track during discussions.

If a group has no leader, then chaos ensues. A strong leader can help everyone stick to the agenda, prevent conversations from becoming derailed and keeps conversations productive.

This is a tremendous benefit when conference call attendee lists get a little longer.

6. Find a reliable, useable free conference call service

Don’t let an unreliable conference call service that doesn’t seem to want to work right ruin what should have been a valuable meeting with your team. Find a reliable, useable free conference call service that makes connecting with everyone a breeze.

Make sure you - and maybe a few others - do your research on which providers make the most sense for your conferencing needs. And, yes, you can definitely find a great conference call service without having to spend a dime.

If you are not sure where to start, then compile a list of features you think you will need to have a great conference call experience. Then, start looking up options. Cross off any that don’t fit your needs.

Don’t settle for free - expect the best

Many free services have a few great features, but Conference Town has all the features you need to have a great meeting, including no reservations, no time restrictions, HD audio quality, full web interface, free recording and so much more.

In conclusion, your search for a simple conference call experience starts with sound strategy and ends with an exceptional service. Connect these two necessities and you will be on your way to experiencing your best conference call yet.


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