The amount of time being wasted during conference calls equates to billions of dollars in lost productivity. This is why so many professionals seek out conference call tips.
According to LoopUp's Enterprise Conferencing: User Behavior & Impact Report
, U.S. and UK professionals waste an average of 15 minutes each conference call, which leads to $34 billion in losses.
The truth is, running an efficient, productive conference call takes a lot of preparation. Without it, you risk hosting a messy, chaotic experience for you, your internal team, and your attendees.
Here are some signs of a terrible conference call:
- Small talk is awkward and meandering.
- Lines are dropped, and people are having issues redialing.
- Conversations are stop-and-go, thanks to delays in technology.
- Audio disruptions are causing choppy voices and distortion.
- Callers are stuck muted or disconnected entirely.
- Your attendees are confused by the agenda (or the lack thereof).
A successful conference call is productive. You convey your message and educate attendees on your topic. Your attendees leave with a deep understanding of the topic and are equipped to take action on specific goals and tasks.
Here are conference call tips you need to keep calls productive:
Conference Call Tips -- Before
Staying productive throughout the conference call requires preparation and strategy. Focus on setting you and your guests up for success. Run a Tech Checklist
If you're struggling with tech issues early on, you lose valuable time and set a bad tone for the call. Go through a dry run with your internal team to ensure background noise or loud echoes
Also, ensure all the dial-in numbers work correctly and that the sound quality is top notch. This is why HD audio quality
is so important -- without crisp audio, the group will likely miss information and have to repeat themselves. Refresh on Basic Etiquette
Being polite might seem like common sense, but it's easy to forget basic etiquette
Treat conference calls like an in-person meeting. You wouldn't do the following:
- Show up late.
- Leave your attendees feeling unprepared.
- Make noise loudly while another person speaks.
- Run a report or write an email during the meeting.
The same goes for conference calls. Politeness goes a long way. Establish a Familiar Experience
Your guests want to be familiar with you and your organization. When it comes to hosting a conference call, don't leave them feeling uncomfortable by sending them to a third-party service that looks outdated or unreliable.
Instead, integrate your branding into the conference call experience by creating a branded conference website
. Attendees will recognize your logo and colors and feel comfortable. Plus, it adds to your credibility as the facilitator. Seek Out Expectations
Nothing is worse for attendees than when they enter a conference call with hopes and leave empty-handed. One of the most important conference call tips is simple -- listen to what attendees expect out of the experience.
Conduct a survey beforehand to ask them about the three things they expect to take away from the call. This way, you get to know each of them personally.
This allows you to connect with them on an emotional level -- you can speak to their needs during the call and show you fully understand their unique interests.
Conference Call Tips -- During
Create a Human Connection
Small talk doesn't have to be awkward. Connect with them on a relatable topic and get to know guests at the start of the call.
Start with a fun icebreaker exercise called the Take 5. Encourage all attendees to introduce themselves and share five unique facts about who they are, what they do, their interests, and their background.
This can spark some lighthearted conversation and add levity immediately to the tone of the call. While it's important to stay focused on the purpose of the call, this human connection encourages them to stay engaged from the get-go. Stick to Short Segments
An InterCall study
found some shocking information about what workers do during conference calls. Many have admitted to doing other work (65%), sending emails (63%), eating or making food (55%), going to the restroom (47%), and sending text messages (44%).
To put it simply, attention spans are short. Many attendees might feel the urge to multitask during the call.
Combat this by scheduling short themed segments. Include these segments with descriptions in the agenda you send before the meeting, then stick to the schedule during the call.
Each segment should run about 10 minutes and end with trivia questions or a discussion portion, where attendees can weigh in on the segment topic.
This way, your guests are more likely to pay attention and stay engaged throughout. Add Some Fun (If It Fits)
Not every conference call is going to be laid back. However, if the tone and the purpose of the call permits, add fun elements during the call.
Here are conference call tips for adding fun:
Host a scavenger hunt
In the agenda, you send to attendees beforehand, lay out how you will hide five bits of information within the call.
Include a trigger word that prefaces the information, then at the end of the call, ask the group who recalls the five bits of information.
Those who do receive a prize. This can include content giveaways, like free ebooks and access to exclusive podcasts. Or send them free company swag.
To boost more engagement after the call, include a scavenger hunt assignment that gets them to visit your website to gather more information. For example, encourage them to find information about the founding of your company or specific services you provide.
They can submit their completed scavenger hunt afterward.
Incorporate quizzes and trivia
Create friendly competition by asking quiz questions throughout each segment of the conference call.
Tell your attendees to chime in by 'raising their hands
' and providing the answers. This keeps them on their toes.
Tally who has the most correct answers at the end of the call, and reward them with a shout-out and exclusive prizes. Appoint a Team of Note Takers
As you introduce your internal team, make sure you point out your dedicated note takers. Ensure they're trained properly on the agenda beforehand.
Also, teach them to take notes on attendees and their specific questions and pain points. If it fits the tone of your relationship with attendees, ask a few of them to take notes they can share with the group afterward as well.
This way, both sides -- your team and theirs -- are gathering takeaways and sharing them with others.
Conference Call Tips -- After
Distribute Personalized Action Plans
Using the surveys you conducted from before, show each attendee the takeaways they can use to address their own challenges.
Their personalized action plan should include context and actionable tips they can put into practice immediately.
It should also set clear expectations for you. Establish goals you have in mind for them, along with deadlines. Request Recorded Takeaways
A University of Waterloo
study found that reading information aloud to yourself boosts your ability to remember it.
Train your attendees how to boost their retention. Ask them to send you an audio recording of them reading their recap of the conference call, as well as their personalized action plan.
Not only does this help them retain the information, but it also shows you they're fully engaged in the content of your call and your action plan.
How We Can Help You
We offer all the features
you need to run a productive conference call, at no cost. Contact us
now to learn more about making the most out of your conference calls.