Have you ever wondered why so many people claim that conference calling is the ultimate solution to their communication problems? The technology is superb, yes, but you can’t seem to get as much out of it as everybody else does. What can you be doing wrong?
If you’ve only used conference calling technology for a month or two, you should give yourself a break. As excellent as this alternate means of communication may be, it cannot disguise the complexity behind its use. You’ll need time to get the hang of it; nevertheless, you should avoid exhausting that excuse and start focusing instead on the ways you can turn to for the immediate improvement of your conference calls.
Spare enough time and energy to the study and application of the methods listed below. Even the leading conference calling services cannot guarantee your success if you lack the knowledge needed to navigate it.
Identify the Type of Call you’ll be Making
A conference call can either be audio or video. The primary mistake that most businessmen commit is their ignorance in regards to the proper use of these two conference calling types. Some always resort to video conferencing simply because it is interactive and impressive. They remain negligent of the ample amount of preparation required to make a webinar possible; thus they often end in failure.
Some people, on the other hand, resort to plain audio conferencing because it’s the type they are most used to. They refuse to adapt to webinars in fear that they will be caught off guard by its intricacy.
It is crucial for you to understand the advantages and disadvantages of those two types in order for you to determine which will serve your purpose best. Bear in mind that practicality is always better than lavishness.
Let them know you are the Host
Save yourself from the ambiguity that initially befalls conference call users by letting them know who the leader of the pack is, at least for the duration of that virtual meeting. As the host, you shoulder the responsibility of ruling the conference. It is important that they recognize your authority so that misunderstandings can be resolved and agendas can be accomplished. This will also assure the maximum use of your time.
Send the Invitations a Couple of Weeks Prior the Conference
Yes, friend, invitations are vital. They contain the date, time, and agendas of the conference call you’ll be hosting. Expand the use of your invitation by including your email address and other contact information. There’s little chance that everybody will be available on your selected date. They’ll need to contact the person in charge – which is you – to negotiate their schedule with the rest of the participants.
Find equilibrium between flexibility and authority; avoid letting them dictate the entire order of the conference call. Remember that as the host, you have the final say.
The other reason for distributing the invitations weeks prior is to give them time to prepare as well. The shortcomings from their behalf can affect the entire conference.
Decide on Conferencing Etiquette
You can’t avoid rows from happening, especially when the topic is of great significance to each participant and a conclusion can’t seem to be realized. Another inevitable factor is the people who misbehave in conference calls. They are oblivious to the sensitivity of virtual communication; hence they act without due attention to how it affects the entire conference.
Etiquette will give them awareness of the dos and don’ts and keep their behaviour in check. The reprimands you’ll endow the hard-headed will also be justified because everybody has already been warned of the proper conduct.
Don’t Surprise them with Slideshows and Other Desktop Activities
It’s so easy to get sidetracked by all the amazing desktop sharing applications in the web today. However, you have to discipline yourself to use them only when necessary. Make the conference call as simple as possible and stick to practical methods that everybody is familiar with.
Produce a Timetable and a List of Agendas
Distractions are everywhere and conference calling is subject to the oppression of those distractions. Participants are often guilty of playing solitaire at the side or scribbling notes that are not related to the meeting. A timetable and list of agendas will help them sustain their focus. Furthermore, it will prompt them to research beforehand and come prepared with useful insight on the matters to be discussed. Any discussion out of the predetermined list should be shunned to avoid getting sidetracked.
Set a Time Limit
Two hours is a long time to spend in front of the computer, talking to people who are situated halfway across the globe from you. Set the call to an hour and a half and shorter if possible. Meet your agendas in the briefest amount of time without seeming too rushed.