Conference calling is a very simple idea, and it is simple by nature. It works exactly the same way as a normal telephone call but with the addition of other participants. However, it’s important to know how to conduct a call the right way, so that the aims of the call are achieved and everyone comes away satisfied.
For someone who hasn’t had much experience of phone meetings or conference calls, it’s easy to think of the whole process as very simple and foolproof. After all, what could go wrong? However regular conference callers know there are certain rules that are worth sticking by. Using the tips below you can ensure you avoid some of the most common issues experienced by conference callers.
- Plan Ahead
- Consider your surroundings
- Don’t put your phone on hold. Use the mute button
- Write things down!
- Try not to speak over each other
- Don’t forget to introduce yourself
- International call? Remember to speak slowly and clearly
Make sure you plan well ahead and select a sensible time for everyone to join the call. Remember to take into account any global time differences if your participants are calling from other countries. Some conference calling services let you send automatic invitations to your participants by email, so that you can be sure everyone has received the correct information about the phone meeting.
It can be easy to forget to consider your surroundings during a conference call. Make sure you’re in a reasonably quiet place, with little to no background noise. If you’re conducting a business call and your colleagues are also going to be in the call, make sure they are not too close to you, otherwise you might hear an audio delay which can make it hard to listen. Don’t make a call on the move unless you really have to, as you wont be able to engage properly.
If you’re on your mobile, using headphones or a handsfree kit can greatly improve your ability to hear everyone, which is especially useful if there is some background noise you can’t avoid.
If you have hold music, just remember that everyone in your conference call will hear it. If you need to take a break, just use your mute button to avoid disruption.
It can be very important to keep a notepad or a document open on your computer so you can quickly jot down anything you need to know or remember.
Just like in a face to face conversation, speaking over each other can easily make communication pointless. If you find you’re talking at the same time as someone else (which is an easy mistake to make), just stop and choose the right time to contribute.
A quick “hello” when you join the call goes a long way, and makes everyone aware of who’s listening and when everyone has arrived.
If you’re in a call with varying nationalities or accents, it can be all too easy to get into a rhythm of speech which is too quick for people to make notes and engage. Remember to slow things down and speak clearly if you’ve got important information you want to be heard.