The pitfalls of conference calling are so ubiquitous that they're almost comedic: take these guys, who enacted a conference call in real life, or this guy, who recorded a bunch of common phrases and randomized them to simulate every conference call you've ever been on. These parodies are hilarious in a depressing way - after all, you still have to deal with the problems they highlight on a semi-regular basis at work. Read on for some tips on how to get the process going as smoothly as possible:
When organizing the call:
1. "I can't join the call, I've got this other thing." Make an effort to find a good time when everyone's available: it's best to have access to the other participants' calendars. Try not to schedule anything right before or after another appointment because odds are that engagement will run late and you'll be stuck with a half-empty call.
2. "Sorry, I couldn't find the dial-in." Emailing dial-ins and passcodes is standard procedure today, but it is an incredibly inefficient way of getting everyone on the phone. Time is wasted digging through emails to find the right information. The best solution is to find a communication tool that allows you to initiate a call instantly with a group of coworkers, without dial-ins. Lua's calling feature does just that, if you need such a tool.
During the call itself:
3. "Is anyone else here? Hello?" Enter the call 5 minutes early and welcome everybody by name as they join. This way, your invitees feel like the call is starting out on track, and you can keep tabs on who's around.
4. "No, you g-. Ok, me? So I- oh, yes?" Don't hog the spotlight/speakerphone. The point of conference calls is to get more points of view, but without visuals of body language, that can lead to some awkward cutoffs. No real way around this, but you can make sure to be gracious with your time and allow for all parties to speak up.
5. "I think we may all be looking at different versions." Preparation makes perfect. Circulate the documents you want everyone to look at at least an hour before the call so that everyone's on the same page. If you're doing a webinar, practice - not just the talk, but also the technology.
6. "...Sorry, can you repeat that?" This one's for everyone: avoid distractions and try not to multitask. If your full attention is on the call, you can minimize the time spent on recaps and redundancies. Nobody wants the call to go overtime, so give it the attention it deserves to ensure that it doesn't. If you're in charge, keep the call on track so that everyone's motivated to focus.
Lua's calling features can provide you with a more successful conference calling experience. Do you have any other tips for successful conference calling? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about it!