Whilst some business executives believes you need to see the whites of a person’s eyes to understand what they really feel, there are equally as many that believe the money and time saved using conference calls outweighs the expenses of meeting in person.
Even with advances in technology, conference calls, including video calls, are still used relatively infrequently in most businesses. Learning from other people’s mistakes is the best way to ensure that you make the most out of your calls.
Preparation tip 1 – Practice
Everyone has experienced a speaker walking to the podium and delivering an appalling, uninteresting and mistake ridden speech. This is usually because they haven’t taken the opportunity to practice the speech beforehand. It’s not only the speech that counts, but the delivery, that impacts the outcome.
Conference calls are very similar, especially sales calls. A person will be better prepared if they will have practised using all of the necessary equipment, listened to how they sound, recorded a practice session or two, and asked for help and advice from colleagues.
Planning and preparing for your conference call will allow you to have everything at hand, should you be asked a question that can’t immediately answer. The attendees on your conference call will appreciate the work you have put in to prepare for the meeting, as opposed to just pressing the button and trying to ‘ghost’ through an important call.
Preparation tip 2 – Prepare an agenda
Although there are occasions when you may wish to put people on the spot, using surprise, an agenda will help everyone understand the matters that are to be discussed, how long the meeting will take and allow individuals to consider their views in advance.
Preparation tip 3 – Introduce the individuals on the call
When you’ve been invited out to dinner with friends and find that other couples have arrived before you, you can feel out of place, surprised and unable to communicate in a relaxed way.
The same applies to conference calls. They should begin on time and you should take the opportunity to greet and introduce participants, whether they are in the room or at the other end of the call.
By making everyone aware of all the participants there won’t be any surprises from people asking questions, especially when you didn’t know they were even listening.
Preparation tip 4 – check the technology is working
Most calls these days are made over an Internet connection of some sort. And as we all know, sometimes these can be flaky.
Take a moment to clarify and receive confirmation that everyone is able to participate. It will save you needing to repeat the call.
Practise really does make perfect for conference calls. By checking out the technology, knowing what you’re going to talk about and practising how to use the equipment, you increase the likelihood of a successful result.