What's your favorite kind of audio conference call?
I'm guessing you've been to all the different kinds: informative, organized, long, boring, focused, unfocused, fun, etc. Okay, maybe not many fun calls.
Usually, a short call is fun one: “Any thing to discuss” – “No” – “I guess we're done then” – “Talk to you next week”.
An audio conference call that is organized, focused and answers all of your questions is a good one. In this post I'm going to discuss what makes a good conference call. This is for the organizer and if you are attending.
9 tips if you are hosting an audio conference call
- Be prepared for the call.
- Call in a few minutes early to make sure the conference service is up and running.
- Send out an itinerary before the call and ask for any items that should be added to the list.
- If you are using a new conference call service, test it out prior to the call.
- Know the habits of the people on the call. I worked a great developer that was a late riser. He worked late, but didn't get online until 2:00pm. When possible I would schedule the calls at 2:00pm or later. If it was earlier I would give him a call 30 minutes before the call to make sure he was awake.
- If there's a lot of background noise, tell everyone except for the speaker to mute.
- If someone has a terrible phone connection let them know and have them call back in on a different line.
- Make sure everyone has a chance to ask questions or express their viewpoint.
- End the call on time. If more time is required you can schedule a follow up call.
Fun video – Real Life Conference Call
6 tips if you are attending an audio conference call
- Show up for the call on time. I like to call in a few minutes earlier just in case there's an issue with the call or the webinar service.
- Be prepared for the call.
- If you are using Skype or another VOIP service and your connection is bad, switch to your mobile or landline phone.
- Mute your phone if you are not talking. Just remember to unmute when you start talking 😉
- Identify yourself before you start talking.
- If the call is a waist of time, provide a good reason and leave the call. I wish I learned this lesson sooner.
Information to send out prior to your call
As I mentioned earlier it's a good tip to be prepared for the call. One thing you can do to be organized and organize the rest of the attendees is to send out an email with the following information a day or two before the call:
- Conference phone number and conference ID if required.
- Date and time of the call.
- Include the different timezones for all attendees to make sure they are not timezone challenged.
- Ask if anyone wants to add any items to the agenda.
Information to send out after your call
Once the call is finished it's great to follow up as soon as possible with a short email on the call. Here's what you should include in the email:
- List of attendees.
- Actions and who's responsible.
- A short summary of the call if possible, sometime it's hard to run the call and take good notes.
- If a summary is required you can record the call or have someone else capture the minutes from the meeting.
- Any items you did not cover on the agenda.
- Date and time for the next meeting, if necessary.
The more prepared you are for the audio conference call the better the call will be. Of course you can't be prepared for every call all of the time, but after awhile you will get use to hosting a call and fall into your own pattern.
I use to work with a project manager who wrote the actions and brief summary on a piece of paper during every meeting. Before anyone could leave the meeting he would make photocopies and hand it out to every attendee. At the start of the next meeting he would review the list of actions that everyone had. No excuses for not getting your actions done.
Additional reading for hosting an audio conference call
For more information on this topic, here's a few additional resources you may want to read:
From Microsoft, example of a conference call agenda