Conference calls are much more common and important these days due to an increase in the mobile workforce and an increase in large companies with offices all over the globe. According to the International Data Corporation, “by , IDC expects mobile workers will account for nearly three quarters (72.3%) of the total U.S. workforce.” This trend is only expected to increase, so why not brush up on your conference call skills a bit?
When it comes to leading a conference call (or participating in one), some unique challenges come into play. For example, there are no body language cues, so people often talk over one another. The lack of cues makes it easier for certain participants to dominate a conversation and for other participants to feel ignored. It’s also easier for participants to multi-task or disengage when they’re not visible, so maintaining participant engagement is especially important.
Take advantage of this conference call tip list from the MeetingPulse team! Feel free to write us with additional tips you’ve gathered along the way.
- Limit group size so that everyone feels comfortable chiming in
- Establish a clear etiquette protocol from the beginning. Consider sending an email describing your conference call norms.
- Set an expectation for undivided attention at the beginning of the call
- Let your participants do the work… let the discussion flow when appropriate
- Ask well-thought-out questions that keep your group engaged and on-topic
- Focus on concise, open-ended questions that inspire discussion and consideration – rather than narrow “yes” or “no” questions that can lead to dead-end conversation.
- Use an interface that has a dashboard, a chat interface, shows who’s talking, allows for screen sharing, has anonymity options, and that allows muting if things get too noisy.
- Cater to the strengths of your participants and focus on discussion that feels productive and engaging for everyone present.
- Listen to what people have to say; if one person is talking most of the time, it’s a speech rather than a conversation!
- Stick to the allotted time! If you would like to go over time, check in with everyone.
- Consider utilizing supplemental tools that can round out your calls and address particular challenges. For example, MeetingPulse makes it possible to check in with call members, take polls, and collect questions so that everyone can provide input and see visualizations of collaborative feedback.
An acute awareness of the challenges posed by conference calls can lead to more effective solutions. After each call, list the things that went wrong and come up with potential future solutions. Although it’s easy to notice bumps in the road and let them go, consider turning your conference calls into a creative opportunity to improve everyone’s experience – and thus improve your business as well.
At MeetingPulse, we provide real-time feedback software that runs in any browser, so you’ll never need to download an app. Employees can easily participate using their mobile device or computer via a short link. MeetingPulse technology was developed with simplicity in mind, yet it offers a wide array of customizable options to fit your employee engagement needs. Please contact us for more information about our feedback software or sign up to receive blog updates and our free ebook.