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.