Conference calls have become a vital part of business life, yet a large number of companies are not utilising them to their full potential. The ability to successfully lead a conference call demonstrates management skills and the knowledge to direct a number of staff simultaneously. Adequate preparation and knowledge of conference calling can be the difference between a meeting which is extremely or productive, or one which turns out to be a colossal waste of time. So how do you prevent the latter? Here are some tips intended to ensure your conference calls are effective and engage each participant to contribute:

1) Create an agenda

Without a pre-planned list of set tasks you wish to accomplish by the end of the call, it is very easy to get side-tracked and completely miss the goals you set out to achieve by holding the conference. Setting and circulating an agenda before hand ensures the call remains a professional meeting rather than a leisurely chat that wanders from one topic to another with no true structure.

2) Don’t forget your pin!

With the sheer amount of passwords we are required to memorise in our lifetimes, it isn’t always easy to recall every single one of them. The same can apply for a 4 digit PIN for the conference call, but through the use of WHYPAY? conference rooms are permanent and the same room and PIN can be used as often as you wish. In addition, they can be saved to your account, allowing access to features such as automated participant invites and calendar integration, leaving you with peace of mind that all the participants will have the information they require readily available prior to the call.

3) Delegate roles on the call

Choose someone to head up the call – often the person who has convened the meeting. This person can ensure that everyone on the call has an introduction, calls on relevant people for responses and guides the meeting to remain on topic. However some delegation is necessary and there should also be someone keeping track on the time, allowing the call header to focus on what matters are being presented and keep the meeting progressing at a steady pace.

4) Don’t be scared to hit mute

It can be extremely frustrating when you’re on a conference call and you can hear constant background noise of one of the participants while another person is trying to get their point across. This is why the mute button can actually be one of the most powerful tools on a conference call. It ensures that the meeting runs smoothly and that every participant is heard when they should be and that others don’t drown them out.

5) Record the meeting

One of the biggest advantages of a conference call is the option for call recording. Long gone are the days of frantically trying to scribble illegible notes or bashing away loudly on keyboards throughout meetings. WHYPAY? offers a call recording feature at no extra cost which then allows you to forward the recording to specific emails of relevant participants. This can be particularly useful as there will be times when not everyone can make the meeting, and provides them with the option to catch up on what was discussed. It also takes the pressure of of making notes and means that people are likely to be more focused on what is being said and therefore more engaged in the conference.