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How Action Items Make Conference Calls More Productive

How Action Items Make Conference Calls More Productive

Not everyone loves conference calls. That shouldn't come as a shock.

According to Harvard Business Review many conference calls participants find other things to do while they're actively on a call. A survey in an HBR article shows that the number of people who participate in conference calls via mobile devices has steadily increased over the years. This has led to even more distracted callers.

Many participants are usually doing other work, reading and sending email, eating or making food, going to the restroom, texting, playing games, checking social media - and the list goes on and on.

If your team is checking out during your business's conference calls, then you're not alone. There are ways, though, that you can make sure people are listen and participate during your calls.

Team members who are more engaged will in turn be more productive after the conference call ends. That's because they have better sense of what they need to accomplish.

One strategy to increase engagement is to set achievable goals during calls and establish action items for each team member to accomplish that directly relate to the subject of the conference call.

Let's look at the best ways to set those goals, turn them into action items and keep your team accountable - and hopefully much more engaged in discussions.

Keep business goals at the forefront

The first step you will need to take if you want to get your team on a more productive track is to connect the business's goals to what is being discussed during the conference call.

Every business should have goals. These goals should match up with the business's mission and overall strategy. Make sure everyone on your team is aware of your business's goals - especially the goals that their jobs and roles directly impact.

If you're the leader of the conference call, it typically falls on your shoulders - and maybe a couple of individuals you trust - to set the agenda for each call. When you are preparing the call agenda, keep in mind how what is being discussed relates to company goals.

If it's hard to connect a topic with a specific goal, then how meaningful is that topic to the team members on your call. Engaged employees have purpose. If they struggle to see what role they are playing in helping the business, they're going to disengage from their jobs and definitely your conference calls.

Encourage your employees to stay productive and engaged with conference call discussions that reinforce this sense of purpose.

Turn goals into action items

Once your team has a firm understanding of the goals you have set, then you can begin to breakdown how to accomplish those goals.

An effective way to do this is to establish action items, which are specific tasks that need to be accomplished. Every action item should be related to at least one goal.

If you are looking for a good way to create action items, then check out the Priority Matrix blog, which provides a very good road map for breaking down goals, determining action items and how to take on those action items.

The first step, as the blog suggests, is to figure out a timeline for when a goal should be accomplished. That timeline should be divided into smaller increments, such as weeks or months. You should use those increments to set deadlines to achieve agreed upon benchmarks.

Make the steps you will take toward achieving those into single, specific items. Those are action items that will be assigned to team members who are responsible for that part of accomplishing a broader goal.

Incorporating action items and goals into conference calls

As we've already mentioned, your business's goals need to be considered whenever you are setting a conference call agenda. So, take that a step further and think about what action items may need to be discussed or assigned during a conference call.

Keep your team engaged throughout the conference call by assigning action item to specific people. This creates more accountability on the team.

With each action item, the entire team can discuss when deadlines should be set and how the tasks should be checked off.

And, if everyone goes into a conference call knowing they will need to provide their input on how specific tasks are being handled - and report on what they have actually accomplished - then they are much more likely to be engaged in the call.

Better participation is even more likely if you make time in your conference calls to report on action item and goal progress.

Engaged team members have purpose

The best employees or team members are the ones who have a sense of purpose in their work. A Gallup poll cited by an article in Forbes found 70 percent of American workers either aren't engaged or are "actively disengaged" at work.

Hopefully the people on your conference call fall into the 30 percent of workers who are engaged. Odds are not all of them do, unfortunately.

However, some of the tips that Forbes provides for building purpose can be used while you're trying to drive your point home during conference calls - and in all business communication settings, to be honest.

For example, try to connect your business's goals and action items to both your business's overall mission and each employee's own personal values. Help them determine why they're doing what they do. If they're passionate about the work, they stand a better chance of being engaged in work.

Engaged employees make for much more productive - and fun - conference calls.

Use a conference call service that encourages engagement

To make all of these tips on action items come together and create better, more productive conference calls for you and your team, you need a conference call service that makes engagement simple.

Conference Town offers simple, free conference calling that's packed with features to keep ideas flowing and calls productive. Some of those features include a question and answer system, free call recording, no time limits and a full web interface.

It's incredibly easy to give Conference Town a try. Sign up today or start an instant conference call right now to give it a spin.


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