Businesses in the marketing, advertising, and promotion industry hold meetings and conference calls weekly. This helps keep employees, managers, and those at the top in the know. It is also a way to develop a rapport with business partners and clients while eliminating the time and monetary costs of travel.
Conference calls are multi-functional: they enhance business productivity, maintain partnerships, improve assignment management, and engage with customers. Numerous PR and marketing departments use these meetings as an invaluable communications tool. With the advance of technology, these meetings can be scheduled on Skype or video sessions.
Not all conference calls do exactly what they are supposed to do. Some can be the source of blunders, poorly negotiated contracts, and errors. Here are some recommended tips that will help make conference calls productive, engaging, and efficient for all participants.
Have an Agenda
Conference calls should revolve around a central idea or agenda. This should be communicated to everyone before the meeting. Providing all participants with the right information about the agenda helps them plan out in advance and contribute effectively to the discussion.
Each individual participating in the discussion must be familiar with the topic at hand, as well as the personnel with whom they are meeting. An introductory session should be held, so everyone can clearly introduce themselves. The best and simplest introduction is a name, title, and role.
Be on Time & Avoid Interruptions
Punctuality is important for any meeting, but this especially true for conference calls. All participating individuals in a meeting should arrive and be ready on time. This will prevent interruptions from a late arrival. If it can be accommodated, allow five to 10 minutes of casual discussion after the scheduled meeting date so attendees can arrive without interrupting anything too important.
If meetings are scheduled over the phone or video, there is a risk that background noise can interrupt the discussion. These embarrassing revelations and noises can easily be avoided by pressing mute, relocating to a quieter place, or turning down the background volume. Distracting background noise can include dogs barking, crying children, personal conversations, and people chewing on food.
The rules of a conference call should be established, reviewed, and followed early. This prevents discussions from going off-topic. You can begin a meeting by providing an overview of the topics covered and ask any attendants for questions.
Do a Tech Run Beforehand
Conference calls now feature graphics or screen-sharing tools that display important information regarding the company and market. It is imperative to make sure all video systems and visuals are working correctly. Make sure the text is legible and the graphics are clear. Any video errors that occur can not only hurt the content of a meeting, but embarrass the hosts as well.
Glitches and interruptions during a meeting can happen. The best responses to these situations are to quickly maneuver through them. Even if a blue screen interrupts your Power Point, you can continue the discussion with backup documents. There may be late arrivals or beeps from a phone alert, but do not let them divert attention from the content of the meeting.
Include All Participants
Some participants may be more extroverted than others and want their voice to dominate. While the additional input and details they provide are welcome, these individuals can drag down meetings and even leave some participants out of the discussion. By respectfully asking them to slow down and allow others to contribute, the discussion can proceed smoothly. Be sure not to imply you are disagreeing with them as you are doing this.
If conference calls are held over a remote device or phone, you must consider the possibility of lost connections or dropped calls. Use a reliable program such as Skype, which will prevent multiple lost connections if a call is dropped. In contrast, mobile phones have a high chance of lost connections, which can drop an entire meeting.
Conferences, whether they are carried the traditional or through technology, remain essential for the operations of numerous corporations, marketing agencies, and tech firms. The technical developments incorporated into meetings make them even more valuable and efficient. Even in the most established firms, technical and human errors can detract from the quality of a meeting. By following these preparations, you can ensure your company’s conferences will be optimized for productivity and efficiency.
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