As the host, make your environment distraction free during the call. This includes cell phones, emails, chat, etc… Close the office door or use an empty conference room. Get somewhere there is no background noise and other distractions.
Have an agenda for the call. With a start and end time for the call. Each agenda item should be timed. Share the agenda by email before the call and /or review it at the beginning of the call. Make a plan to stick to the agenda and timing.
Use a landline if you can, and a good headset is best.
Send a reminder email about 30 minutes before the call starts. Start on time. Starting late disrespects the participants that did call in on time. Introduce yourself to everyone.
Don’t start over for late callers or summarize what you have already covered.
Speak clearly and confidently. Use vocal variety Have a list of points you want to cover in front of you so you don’t miss anything.
Look them in the eye when you’re talking. Ok… Imagine you’re looking them in the eye. (It works).
Mute the other callers if you are doing most of the presenting. This avoids other distractions and unnecessary background noise. Provide the key command for the participants to mute and unmute their line. If you have other speakers, let them know in advance how long they have to speak. Ask them to introduce themselves so everyone knows who is speaking. If speakers get off topic or wander, ask them to summarize their key point and then move on, or ask them to take up the issue afterward.
Ask random participants what they think of a certain idea or subject. It keeps others on their toes as they don’t know if they will be asked next.
Keep the call short and moving along at a quick pace. Be a strong facilitator. Don’t let anyone else monopolize the call. End the call on time
Review any actions items before concluding the call.
Record the conference call and send it out to the participants after, along with the list of action items from the call.
Bonus Tip – Stand while presenting. Standing helps you to breath better and can give you more energy.
Have any other tips or input to offer? Let me know in the comments.
Have you experienced echo and call quality issues on any of your conference calls? Here are a few things that may be causing the problem.
- Speakerphones: Try muting the speaker phone if no one is talking. When speaking, get close to the speakerphone so everyone can hear what your are trying to say. Only have one phone in the room on the call at a time. Lower the volume of the speakerphone as much as you can. Get everyone to in the room to move as close to speaker phone as possible for best results.
- Use a headset: It’s best a good quality wired headset from a landline. Avoid small empty rooms that have a tendency to have an echo even when you’re not on a call.
- Use a landline: Mobile phone quality isn’t always the best. For the best results use a good old fashioned landline.
- Mute all lines: Most conferencing services have a “mute all” function. Use this while presenting to help reduce background noise from other callers.
- Use the support operator: An operator will join the call during your conference. They will help to isolate the echo problem and help you resolve the issue. This is usually done by pressing a key command on most conferencing services. Determining the source of call quality issues is best done during a call. It’s more difficult for technical support to source the issue after the call.
- Use a good quality conferencing provider: Not all conferencing services are the same. If you’ve tried all the above and you’re still having the issues. Contact your provider and let them know. They should work with you to help resolve the issue if they value your business.
To learn more about our conference call services click here. If you’re with a different provider we’d like you to try us out.
- As the host, make your environment distraction free during the call. This includes cell phones, emails, etc… Close the office door or use an empty conference room. Get somewhere there is no background noise, and other distractions.
- Have an agenda for the call. Share it via email before the call and/or review it at the beginning of the call. Make a plan to stick to the agenda.
- Record the conference call and send it out the participants after.
- Speak slowly, clearly and confidently. Use vocal variety. Have a list of points you want to cover in front of you so you don’t miss anything.
- Use a landline if you can, and a good headset is best.
- Look them in the eye when you’re talking. Ok… Imagine you’re looking them in the eye. (It works).
- Mute the other callers if you are doing most of the presenting. This avoids other distractions and unnecessary background noise. Explain to them how to unmute their line so can speak.
- If you have other speakers, let them know in advance how long they have to speak. This keeps your call in control.
- Start on time. Starting late disrespects the participants that did call in on time.
- Keep the call short and moving along at a quick pace.
- Bonus Tip – Stand while presenting – Standing helps you to breath better and can give you more energy.
Have any conference call tips you want to add? Use the comments below.
Have you ever been on a conference call and had to listen to traffic noise, dogs bark or on-hold music because a participant put a call on hold? Here are some tips and ideas on how to avoid all these distracting background noises that take away from your important meeting.
It all starts with the moderator or the main presenter.
Turn off all other distractions – Make sure the moderator or key presenter is in a quiet place. Put your other phones on vibrate or silent. Disable call alert if you have it on the phone you’re using. Shut down and computer calendar reminders, messengers (unless you’re using it as part of your call) or any other distractions.
Use a good phone or headset – Cell phones can break up or drop calls sometime, so if it’s important and you have the choice, use a landline for reliability. Headsets are helpful as they leave your hands free and you can set the microphone a consistent distance from your mouth to get clearer and more consistent sound.
At the beginning of the call – Use the mute all callers key command or web based command. Announce to the callers that you have muted everyone and if they would like to speak let them know the command to unmute and mute again. Ask the participants to make note of the commands. This gives the moderator a little more control and eliminates unnecessary background noise. You can announce the commands again during the call for instance when it’s question and answer time.
Some of the suggestions will vary due to the type of call. Here’s to a productive conference call.
Did you know we only retain 20% of what we hear? Kind of disappointing when you think of the money, time and effort you can put into organizing and conducting a conference call. Not only your valuable time, but the valuable time of your customers, prospects or employees.
Also, we only retain about 20% of what we see. But when we see and hear something together our retention level increases to over 50% retention. If you want to increase retention levels even further add participation or interaction into this equation. Now you have retention levels well above 50%.
By adding Web conferencing or collaboration to your regular conference calls you can improve your participant’s retention levels. Try adding some polling questions in your Web conference or ask one of your participants to show you what they mean on a whiteboard or by sharing out their desktop. With the conference polls it becomes quite easy to see who is really paying attention because you as the moderator can see who’s answering the polls or not.
If you’re already using teleconferencing, it may well be worth a test to see if you can improve your desired results. these results will vary depending on who your audience is and what your subject might be. Now it’s just a matter of finding out the right Web conferencing or collaboration tool that’ll work for you and your participants.
I used to have a manager at another company I worked for. He used to have weekly meeting that were … I’ll just call them painful. His meeting were long, filled with ramblings, never had a clear cut agenda or desired result. They often started late and as a sales person, I just wanted to get back to work and make some money.
I was not the only one that felt this way, most of the other staff were always trying to come up with excuses to get out of these meetings. Scheduling client meetings and calls deliberately during our team meetings as way to get out of suffering through another confusing meeting.
- Have a clear agenda
- Start on time
- End on time
- Moderate and control the meeting
- If someone is speaking, limit their time and time them. Cut them off if you need to.
- Stay on topic
- Summarize the points and what the result or solution is.
- Document the meeting and send out the summary via email to the attendees.
Have a great meeting.