Setting up conference calls can seem daunting. But with this helpful guide, we’ll help you figure out how to set up the perfect conference call in no time.
Let’s be real. Conference calls can be divisive. Everyone in your office probably has an opinion about how to set up a conference call correctly, and most likely, they are jaded about it. But don’t worry about bad attitudes! We’ll walk through step-by-step how to set up an effective conference call that is also time-saving!
Prepare the Perfect Agenda for Your Perfect Conference Call
When thinking about the process of how to set up a conference call, a lot of people put the cart before the horse. It can be tempting to schedule the call and invite participants first, but experienced conference callers will tell you this isn’t the most productive way to use conferencing.
If you are responsible for setting up a conference call, the trick to getting the most out of the call is to actually figure out your objectives and lay out the agenda first. Keep in mind, you can always update an agenda as certain people respond whether or not they can attend the call. But, having a solid plan laid out ahead of time is going to make the entire process easier in the long run.
There is a simple reason why getting an agenda done first is the best way to go about it when you’re learning how to set up a conference call. Knowing what you want to accomplish on the call ahead of time will actually help you determine almost everything else about the call that you need to plan for.
Let’s say you’ve been tasked with setting up a call to review the effectiveness of a recent ad campaign your company did. Are you going to want to talk to the creatives about the effectiveness of their design? Will you your strategy team need to be on the call to review the campaign’s reach? Will finance need to be on the call to discuss how much the campaign cost? Answering questions like these before scheduling the call will determine who gets an invite and, depending on their schedules, when the call can take place.
Plus, having a clear agenda and objectives to include in the invite itself will help participants effectively prepare for the call, ensuring they can maximize their time both ahead of the call and during it.
As you learn how to set up a conference call, it will become clear that the agenda is also key in figuring out how long your conference call should last. Everyone’s time is precious, and folks at work don’t want to spend all day in meetings and on calls. With a clear and precise agenda laid out from the get-go, you can ensure your conference call will last just the right amount of time.
Invite People to Participate on Your Perfect Conference Call
One of the most daunting steps when learning how to set up a conference call is the invitation process. Unless you’re at senior level in your company, asking for people’s time can feel like a burden.
But, with your perfect agenda already laid out, you should have a clear picture of who needs to participate in your perfect conference call. You want to make sure that you don’t over-invite people, because as the number of people on a call increases, the likelihood of coming to an actionable decision decreases.
As you’re learning how to set up a conference call, your agenda will help you determine what kind of meeting the call will be. Meetings and conference calls can essentially be broken down into two larger categories: Decision-making and Brainstorming.
If you look at your objective-driven agenda and see that you need to make some clear decisions on this call, make sure you don’t invite too many people. According to Michael Mankins, who spoke to the Wall Street Journal about corporate time-wasting, for every additional participant over seven, the likelihood of coming to a decision goes down by 10%.
If the purpose of the meeting is, instead, to open brainstorm about a lot of different ideas and possibilities, then it’s most productive to invite 10 to 20 active participants.
Once you’ve figured how what you need to accomplish and who needs to participate on the call, your “how to set up a conference call” journey has finally reached the scheduling stage.
Schedule Your Perfect Conference Call
Scheduling can be truly painful. But if you keep a few things in mind re: scheduling as you’re learning how to set up a conference call, the process will be less painful.
First, make sure you only schedule as much time as you need. Looking at your agenda and the objectives you laid out, only ask participants for the amount of time needed to accomplish those objectives. As a pro-tip, don’t schedule to the nearest 30 minutes. Most objectives can be accomplished on calls lasting 15-20 minutes. If it’s only going to take 5 minutes, schedule the call for 5!
Join Your Perfect Conference Call
The moment has finally come! This is the fun part of the “how to set up a conference call” process where you get to see all your hard work pay off. The biggest thing to note here is that if you scheduled the call, everyone will be looking to you to keep the call moving and organized. Don’t be afraid to jump in and tell participants you need to move on to the next section. Sticking firm to your agenda will increase everyone’s trust in you and force people to pay attention and stay on topic!
One thing to keep in mind when setting up conference calls is the dial-in process. This is where choosing a top-tier service like Branded Bridge Line can really help you out. We included dedicated lines with each of our conference calling plans, which allows for pin-free dial-ins. This feature can be especially helpful if you are scheduling a call with someone you’ve never worked with before. Access codes and host PINs are cumbersome and frequently lead to confusion and calls not starting on time. As you’re learning how to set up a conference call, you should consider a conference call service that makes dialing into calls as simple as possible.
Use Your Perfect Conference Call to Start Getting Stuff Done
It’s time to start getting stuff done. Conference calls are perfect for getting a group of the right people together to accomplish tasks and objectives quickly, effectively, and easily no matter where those people are. With a few tips and tricks from this article, you should have everything you need to know how to setup a conference call!