Have you ever been on a conference call that contained so many distractions that you couldn’t pay attention?  Or how about a conference call where you had no idea what was going on or what the purpose of the meeting was?

Time is our greatest commodity and when we feel like it is being wasted, it is easy to get annoyed.

Conference calls are an effective business tool for communicating information and one of the benefits is that you do not have to travel anywhere to attend the meeting.  The only requirement is a quiet space and a phone.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Not exactly.

There is some planning that needs to go into running and attending a successful conference call.   Listed below are 12 steps to take when planning a conference call.

  1.  Pick a time for the call when the majority of the participants can attend.
  2.  Invite each participant to the conference call by sending them an electronic calendar invite.
  3. Be sure to include the dial in number and any access codes in the invite.
  4. Have an agenda of what is be discussed during the teleconference.
  5. Be sure to attach the agenda and any documents that will be discussed  to the invite so participants do not have to search for them during the teleconference.
  6. Gather your personal notes 5-10 minutes prior to the call.
  7. Prior to dialing into the teleconference, find a quiet place with no distractions.
  8. Honor the participants who arrived on time by beginning the meeting no more than 1-2 minutes after the start time.
  9. Give instructions at the beginning of the call relating to muting/un-muting phones, Q/A and any other pertinent information.
  10. Stick to the agenda to avoid conversation veering off on a tangent or another topic.
  11. Save a few minutes at the end of the call for a recap and to review action steps.
  12. Honor the participants by ending on time and confirm the next time that the group will be meeting.

The steps listed are not difficult, however they are things that we seem to take for granted.  Try implementing these planning steps into your next teleconference and see what a difference it will make. We are sure you will be pleased and would love for you to share how it went.