Whether you are a manager or an associate or the top brass of a multinational company, you would have either hosted or attended a conference call. It does not matter if this is your first time or if you are experienced in hosting conference calls, the below tips will definitely help you go a long way.
The conferencing tips given below have been classified into three main categories i.e. before, during and after the call.
Before the call
- Double check to have the conference room & a dial in number booked prior to the call. Better still is to send it out along with the meeting invite
- Send the agenda at least one day before the call. Agenda to contain specific goals to be achieved from that call. Agenda should have topics assigned to individuals for spearheading the discussion
- Circulate the log of issues to be discussed and closed, at least one day before the call
- If you are the host, dial in at least 5 minutes before the call. Never keep the audience waiting
During the call
- After you open the conference line, allow a couple of minutes for everybody to dial in.
- Welcome each and every participant with appropriate greetings and by introducing yourself.
- Take a roll call at the start of the call and take a note of people present and absent
- Kickstart the meeting on a very strong note. A bit of humour is always a good ice-breaker
- Start discussing the agenda items one by one. Delegate individuals to lead for their assigned sections of the agenda
- Start taking notes for each of the items in the published agenda. It might be worth taking a print out of the agenda and/ or the issue log and writing notes against it.
- Always try to stay on topic i.e. stick to the published agenda
- Always have a recap session. In the recap session, wrap things up with a brief recap of topics discussed, the takeaways and the person responsible for each of those takeaways.
- Close the call on a positive note
After the call
- Make sure to publish minutes of the meeting after each call. Minutes to include attendees, issues raised, takeaways, person responsible for etc. Send the minutes of the meeting on the same day, if possible. Usually people tend to forget the topics and takeaways discussed and agreed upon
- In the minutes of the meeting mailer, do not forget to check with everyone, if all the topics have been covered and documented.
- Make the takeaways from minutes of the meeting, updated issue log and agenda as the topic of discussion for the next meeting besides any new topic, of course
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