Planning the perfect conference call

Conference calls are becoming a far more common occurrence for businesses today, with many executive members of staff taking part in at least one call a day. These calls can prove difficult for assistants to organise – participants are in different locations and people can accidentally dial a different number or forget the pin for the call. However arranging conference calls need not be a stressful experience, below are a few tips on how organisation can ensure the meeting runs smoothly.

Schedule the call

Before organising a conference call, it is vital that the date and time of it is suitable for everyone participating. It is important to get to grips with different people’s schedules and make sure that everyone can actually make the call. Organisers should take into account issues such as different timezones of participants who may be abroad – you can’t expect people to be attend conference calls at 3am. Similarly try and choose a time of day where participants are likely to be focused – holding a call in the last twenty minutes of the working day is unlikely to be productive as everyone will be itching to go home.

Clarity is key

Although technology today has made conference calling today extremely accessible and straightforward, it is amazing how many people don’t follow conference call instructions. It is therefore crucial to make the guide on how to join the conference call as simple as possible. Include step-by-step instructions alongside the meeting invite. Also request confirmation emails from all of the participants to ensure that everyone has actually seen the email and made note of the date and time that the call will take place.

Choose a suitable location

It can be tricky to control issues such as noise interference in conference calls, but problems can be reduced by selecting suitable locations for the call to take place. Book a meeting room in advance if a large number of participants are based in the same place and ensure that the main conference call phone is situated close to the chair of the meeting. Also request that everyone participating switches their phones to silent to make sure there are no disruptions to the call.

Delegate roles

In order to optimise conference call productivity and ensure the purpose of the meeting has been met by the time the call ends, delegate different tasks to different participants prior to the conference. Employ someone to keep track of the time in order to allow the chair speaker to focus solely on matters presented in the agenda. Similarly, ask just one person to make notes throughout the call, meaning that all the other participants only need to concentrate on what is being discussed as opposed to scribbling everything down – this will encourage engagement from more people.

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