Anyone who’s led a meeting before knows the power of a good agenda. If you have a well thought out agenda going into a meeting, you’re likely to waste less time, make more decisions, and come out of the meeting with clearer action items. The same is true of a conference call agenda. After all, conference calls are just meetings! If you would already make an agenda for a meeting, then why aren’t you making agendas for your conference calls? In this post, we’ll cover how to make a really effective agenda for phone conferencing, so that you’re more likely to:
- Keep phone conference meetings on track
- Set clear expectations for contributors and participants
- Waste less time
- Feel more prepared and confident
- And leave the meeting with better, clearer action items for the whole team
What Are the Key Features of a Conference Call Agenda?
There are only a couple key differences between a conference call agenda and a regular meeting agenda.
For starters, a conference call agenda is going to list the date and time of the call, just like a regular meeting. With an agenda for a conference call, you’re also going to want to list the planned duration of the call so all of the invitees know how long the call is scheduled to last.
Also, make sure to list the call organizer (probably you) and all of the call participants. Included below is a helpful conference call agenda template that breaks down the participants section into a simple table that will show everyone’s name, title, and department or office. This additional information can be especially helpful for large calls where all of the participants might not know each other.
One difference between a conference call meeting agenda and a regular meeting agenda is that on a conference call agenda you want to be sure you include all of the necessary dial-in information. While this info is most likely also in the event or calendar invite, it’s helpful to include in the agenda as well.
People can still struggle with dialing into conference calls, so it’s best to make the dial-in process as simple as possible. By including it in the agenda as well as the event invite, you can ensure that everyone has easy access, no matter what they’re looking at when dialing in. Also, Branded Bridge Line offers PIN-less conference calls, a feature that makes phone conferencing that much easier.
The final section of every conference call agenda is the meeting timeline itself. This part can seem like a daunting task – how are you supposed to know how long each section of the call will take? Think of it as more of a guide than a rule.
In most cases, the conference call you’re planning won’t be the first time these topics have been discussed. Use previous meetings and a topic’s general level of importance to decide how much time to allot to each one.
The template below also breaks down the meeting timeline into a helpful table that will ensure your conference call agenda is useful (and everyone follows it). In addition to the time allotment, make sure each topic is assigned a leader and a purpose. The Harvard Business Review broke down a meeting topic’s purpose into three simple options: share info, seek input, or make a decision.
When you think about meeting topics like that, it’s easy to assign a purpose. Obviously, you might be able to get more specific with the purpose of the topics on your conference call agenda – it all depends on your industry. Those are just a helpful place to start.
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Fundamental Conference Call Agenda Template
A quick web search for conference call agenda templates will yield a ton of different results. With all of those different templates out there, how do you know which one will be most useful for your phone conferences?
We went ahead and compiled all of the various agenda meeting templates out there to provide you with the only fundamental conference call agenda template you’ll need. It’s simple and barebones, but it has all of the parts of an effective conference agenda.
(Feel free to use and tweak it for your own conference calls!)
Conference Call Agenda Pro-Tips
Be Flexible. Once you’ve created your agenda, be open to changing it depending on input from your team and last minute circumstances. We’d even recommend building in a few minutes at the top for “agenda tweaks or adjustments.” This way all of the participants have the agency to voice their opinions and make small changes to the meeting before it starts. Who knows, someone might have gotten last minute info that your company was acquired or a project was put on hold that could affect the entire trajectory of the conference call.
Questions Not Statements. When laying out your conference call agenda, name each topic or section with a question instead of a statement. This will help focus the direction of each section toward answering a specific question and discourage open-ended rambling (which usually ends up just being a waste of everyone’s time).
Assign Sections by Name. It’s always best to be as specific as possible. And this is never more true than when assigning different members of your team to lead each section of the call. While you might be tempted to leave a section up to a department or group, always (always, always!) assign it to a specific person. This ensures that there won’t be any question (or “convenient confusion”) about who is responsible for what during the meeting. Clear expectations are an essential part of an effective conference call agenda.
Leave Time for Reflection. Just like we recommend building in a little time at the top of the agenda for any last minute changes, we also recommend leaving time at the end for some reflection about the conference call itself. As the person responsible for creating the conference call agenda, it can seem scary to open yourself up to criticism by asking people to talk about what went well and what could have gone better during the conference call. But in the end, it’s only going to make future calls that much better.
The Perfect Conference Call Agenda
/In the end, no one knows your company and your team better than you do. So take all this info about how to create an effective conference call agenda and run with it. The only additional recommendation we’ll make is that, making the perfect conference call agenda is essentially meaningless without a reliable conference call service like Branded Bridge Line!