anyspacedirect news

Four steps to effective conference calling

15th May 2012
For a distributed workforce or regular interaction with clients, conference calling is an essential communication tool. However, many people look upon a conference call as a mere frustration, despite the fact that audio conferencing is in fact one of the most underrated tools for distance working.

Conference calling is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to bring a group together. The real success of any conference call is ultimately in your own hands. With the right planning and preparation you can discuss the pressing issues and secure resolutions.

Here are four suggestions to improving the efficiency and professionalism of your business’ conference calls.

Create an agenda

If a particular conference call is a one-off you may not require an agenda to discuss a particular issue. However, for regular client contact or dialogue with fellow employees in another building or town an agenda is a good way of ensuring a conference call covers the important topics and does not devolve off topic.

An agenda can also give every member of the team an opportunity to have their say which is very important if certain members of the team are less talkative and struggle to get their points across.

Take regular notes

The temptation is to lose focus and get distracted on a conference call. Perhaps you decide to check your email while they are talking, but what if you don’t know what they are talking about and they ask for your opinion?

It is very important to take regular notes to avoid losing track of discussion. If you use a keyboard to type up notes be careful that if your typing is too loud people will hear you at the other end. This is not ideal so an in-built keyboard or even good old pen and paper may suffice.

Don’t fear interrupting the flow of discussion

The conversational form of a conference call means that it can be difficult to get a word in edgeways, particularly in the midst of discussion a crucial issue. In an ideal world conference calls will follow a natural pattern of turn-taking, but sometimes there is a necessity to get your point across. Consequently don’t be afraid of voicing your opinion particularly if you a concerned the discussion is moving on too quickly.

Follow up every call

It is very useful for both parties to provide minutes in a follow-up email after a lengthy conference call. If you are trying to forge a long-term working relationship with a potential client minutes are a good way of showing you take their issues and concerns seriously. Minutes are also a good way of documenting who said what amongst fellow employees for future dialogue.

With these simple guidelines you will find you and your colleagues get more out of your discussions, ensuring you appreciate the value of conference calling.

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