Conference calls are becoming the go-to when it comes to an effective and efficient meeting set-up. Businesses are realizing it helps them meet company goals in a convenient way.
However, when you're not face-to-face with everyone, it can make engagement quite a challenge.
So, how do you get everyone involved when you're communicating through a phone line? Are there ways to keep everyone's attention to get the most out of the meeting?
It turns out there are several things you can do to avoid distractions and ditch the multi-tasking temptations. Let's discuss ways how to do a conference call that's more engaging for everyone involved.
Before you ever start the meeting, you should have a clear, precise agenda set up for the call. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect.
Send the agenda out ahead of time, along with any other meeting materials they may need during the call. And have a time frame assigned for each topic. When everything is available and structured, it will be easy for your participants to follow along.
And it's important that you stick to the agenda as close as possible. Make sure to start and end the meeting on time.
When your participants know you're being respectful of their time, chances are they will be respectful of yours as well.
To keep people more engaged, it's a good idea to assign meeting roles to your participants. This will give them something to do while on the call, limiting any distractions that may go on otherwise.
For example, assign someone to be the timekeeper. It's their responsibility to make sure the meeting runs on track and on time. Someone else can be the scribe, taking meeting minutes and noting any special action items to address later on.
Or any other role the meeting may need. It's up to you!
By getting your participants more involved on the conference call, you're sure to help them feel more connected to what is going on.
You don't want to be the only person talking during the length of your meeting. Nothing else will guarantee bored, distracted callers more!
Start the meeting by encouraging small talk. Once everyone is comfortable with chatting on the call, it will make it easier for them to open up later on.
Then encourage your participants to talk once the meeting is in full swing as well. Ask questions. Make sure everyone is good on a topic before you move on to something else.
It's even a great idea to end with a roundtable. Let anyone ask questions they may not have thought of beforehand. Or they can contribute additional information or suggestions.
Just because you're on the phone doesn't mean you need to forget about your presentation style. You want to make sure you talk to everyone just as you would if you were standing in front of them.
Be sure to smile. You'd be surprised how much that influences the tone of your voice.
Put some energy into your presentation. If your energy falls flat, your meeting is sure to fall flat as well. And who wants to engage with that?
Try injecting some humor into the meeting. Tell a personal story that relates to one of the topics.
Whatever you can do to liven things up and get people's attention is sure to pay off with your engagement.
Nothing's worse than getting on a conference call and listening to a presenter who doesn't know how to work the technology. Or who obviously isn't prepared and organized. People's attention will start dropping like flies.
If the conference technology is not one you are familiar with, get training on it beforehand. Have a pocket guide available in case you need something to reference during the actual meeting itself.
And have all your notes and meeting materials laid out in front of you before you even start. Practice the call if you need to.
Whatever you need to do to prepare yourself for a smooth, seamless meeting will not only make you look professional, it won't turn off your participants at the same time.
It might be tempting to have everyone you can think of on a conference call, just in case a question should come up later. But that might backfire in the end.
Having too many people on a call can cause confusion and make it more difficult for individuals to contribute to the conversation or ask questions.
And the more people that are on the call can make it more difficult to stick to the time frame while still getting all questions and concerns addressed.
Only invite key members to the meeting. They can then, in turn, update their associates afterward.
And chances are not everyone needs to be on the entire call. If someone only needs to take part for the last half of the meeting, only invite them to that. They'll be grateful for the use of time and more likely to be engaged.
All else fails, ask a direct question. You can do this in a few different ways.
Get away from the simple "yes" or "no" questions and ask thought-provoking questions instead. Open-ended questions are key to getting the conversation going.
You can even ask a question directly to individual participants. This isn't meant to put them on the spot. Rather, it keeps the dialogue going and ensures everyone's thoughts are contributed and valued.
It also keeps everyone else on their toes. If they know questions are flowing, they will stay more alert and prepared to contribute.
If the participants in your conference calls aren't engaged, it can turn into a waste of time for everyone involved. Knowing these key features on how to do a conference call will set you up for an informative and engaged meeting every time.
Let us help you make your next conference call a success. Contact us today!
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