In today’s business environment, it’s not uncommon for companies, employees and clients working on the same project to be located in different parts of the country—or the world. Conference calls are a well-established way of allowing individuals separated by distance to discuss issues in real time. Even so, conference calls are often dreaded, with the calls considered inefficient, boring or simply a waste of time. Managing conference calls effectively is critical to their success. Here are three ways you can improve the process.
- Set and stick to an agenda – Before initiating the call, devise an agenda that makes clear what will be discussed. Include an outline of subjects to be covered and an indicator of what the call should accomplish. The call leader or facilitator should be prepared tomanage the conversation so it stays focused on that agenda. When someone veers off subject or the discussion heads in directions that aren’t relevant, the leader should steer the conversation back to the main topic. Distribute the agenda by email, fax or other means in the days leading up to the call.
- Establish expectations – Recognize that some call participants will have different conversation and interaction styles, and that a clear, well-ordered discussion may not be a natural result of those styles. The call leader must effectively facilitate the call, which may mean setting some limits on those who talk too much and encouraging participation from those who talk too little.
- Actively involve call participants – Give everyone on the call a chance to comment and make their voices heard. A good way to make this happen is for the leader to set aside some time to ask each participant for their ideas, observations or remarks. This technique has the added bonus of helping participants maintain focus and alertness.
FRONTLINE Selling encourages efficient yet productive conference calls for your company and its clients. Contact us today for more information on how we can optimize your prospecting efforts.
Image via Shutterstock.com