Everyone in the office knows that conference calls can be tedious at best. But, however tedious they might be, they are an undeniable part of most offices’ productivity workflows.
Tedious or not, conference calls are still the most effective way to conduct meetings when everyone can’t be in the same room together. So, how can you and your team start having better conferencing calls? Just because they get a bad rap, doesn’t mean they have to be a waste of time! Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to bring better conference calling to your team as soon as today.
Encourage Everyone to Join the Call On-Time
There’s nothing worse than having your time wasted on a conference call. We’ve all been there: call into a conference line on-time just to sit and wait 10 or 15 minutes to realize key parties are late to the call. And while there’s no quick way to force everyone to join the call on-time, there are some tricks to encourage better conferencing calls on-time joining.
First, as the call leader it’s good practice to join the call about five minutes early just to make sure you’re present when the first callers join. You can introduce yourself, but wait until the call actually starts to do formal introductions.
The best way to encourage people to join calls on-time is to actually start the call when it’s scheduled. You can leave a couple minutes for stragglers to join, but waiting and waiting to start will only encourage people to join late on future calls. Have a couple low-stakes questions prepared for small talk to fill the air as people are calling in. Then, get straight to introductions, and start the call.
If people do join late, don’t go back and catch them up in the moment. You’ll start having better conferencing calls if you keep them moving. Make sure latecomers know that they will be caught up at the end of the call, and they can bring questions to you directly, after they review the post-meeting call notes.
Make Joining the Calls as Easy as Possible
If there’s one truth that will remain universal throughout time, it’s that joining conference calls can be a pain in the butt. Keeping track of phone numbers, access codes, and PINs is a real struggle. So, how do we get to better conferencing calls?
If you’re still using a conference call service that relies on sending out different numbers with every call, just make sure to include the dial-in info with the meeting event invite. Also, as a courtesy, send out a call reminder about five minutes before the call starts so all participants have the information handy. It’s easy to lose track of emails and can be a huge help for people to get the call details when they need them.
But there’s an even better option. Branded Bridge Line offers dedicated lines and totally PIN-less conference calling with each conference call plan. These features make joining conference calls a breeze. Employees can save conference line numbers in their contacts to avoid having to dig up and find the number. Plus, with PIN-less dial-ins, you can say goodbye to the access code struggle! Simply dial the conference line, and you’re automatically placed in the call. Now we’re really on the way to better conferencing calls!
Make Sure All Your Equipment Works
As you’re looking to lead better conferencing calls, this one might seem like a no brainer – but it’s vital you don’t overlook it! Before beginning your conference call, ensure that all of the equipment you’ll need to conduct the call is in working order.
This process doesn’t take long and, on the off chance something is broken, neglecting to do so could force you to reschedule your entire call. In addition to making sure the conference line is working, you’ll want to make sure you choose a conferencing service that offers well-documented reliability and good call quality. Branded Bridge Line provides superior call quality and reliability thanks to a scalable and secure infrastructure that supports diverse call routing.
Also, if you are planning to use screen sharing on your call, you’ll need to check your internet connection in addition to your phone line. We also recommend closing out any unused apps and clearing off your desktop in order to host your screen share with fewer distractions.
Good Notes Equal Better Conferencing Calls
Though it might seem a little backwards, a lot of work that goes into conducting better conference calls actually happens after the call is over. The most productive conference calls produce a clear summary of necessary topics and provide participants with clear and specific action items. The only way to arrive at a useful summary with actionable tasks is to take good notes during the call.
The best tip for taking great notes during a conference call is to take notes on as much as you can. Lots of people start their editing process during their note taking process, which can contribute to missing key sections of your conference call. Don’t worry about editing or organizing your notes during the call itself. Take down as much as possible, and then edit down and organize after the fact.
Plus, if you want to be certain you catch everything, Branded Bridge Line offers several conference call features that can help you get better conferencing calls notes. First, each of our plans come with the option to record conference calls. Once recorded, call recordings are easy to listen to and download right from your account. If you need to go one step further, we also offer call transcription services (transcribed by real human beings) on a call-by-call basis.
Pro-Tips for Better Conferencing Calls
Now that you know the basics for upping your conference call game, it’s time for some pro-tips. While these productivity pointers refer to better conferencing calls, they also apply to regular meetings.
First, fewer meetings can lead to more productivity. Lots of people get stuck under the impression that more meetings will lead to more work. The opposite is actually true. Your conference calls will produce more and better results if there are fewer of them because participants will know that they won’t have a thousand other opportunities to contribute.
Second, fewer participants on the call will lead to better engagement on the call. Conference calls make it easy for people to passively attend meetings. Since there is no direct face-to-face interaction, it’s even easy to do other work on conference calls. With fewer people on a call, however, there’s more accountability and each participant has more incentive to contribute.
Finally, shorter calls produce more results. Conducting better conferencing calls doesn’t mean conducting longer conferencing calls. Shorter calls keep answers and conversations direct, and give everyone a better chance of leaving the call with a clear picture of what’s expected moving forward.