The internet has enabled many collaboration tools to become accessible and affordable. It has also enabled communication across various time zones to become easy and seamless.
One such collaboration tool is conference calling. These business-related phone calls enable multiple professionals to get on a call and hash out important points and reach positive outcomes.
What is A Conference Call?
As the term suggests, a conference call is one in which several people jump on a call at the same time. Conference Call is also called Audio-Conference Call (ATC).
Such calls can have various permission designs. For instance, team conference calls will allow all people to present to participate in the call. On the other hand, conference calls where the senior management of a company briefs employees or shareholders are often ones where parties were joining in can only hear.
Thanks to advancements in technology, conference calls are no longer restricted to landline phones. They can also be VoIP calls carried out over the internet through apps like Enjay Synapse Outward Conference, Skype, Google Meet, and more.
How to Start a Conference Call?
The technicalities to start a conference call are simple. It’s a three-step process which is as follows:
Setting up the conference call – Choosing a date and time for the call.
Inviting participants – Sending participants an invitation with the call date and time, the PIN, and dial-in number.
Starting the call – At the specified time, participants dial the numbers and their PINs, get authenticated and join the call.
There are many features that people can enjoy on conference calls like private roll calls, locking and unlocking the call, muting and unmuting their own and other lines, and even starting and stopping recording.
However, that’s just the technical part. There are many human aspects to consider and adhere to when you start a conference call. Some of the conferences call etiquettes, and best practices are as follows:
1. Set a Clear Agenda
It’s essential to set the agenda of the call so that other participants know why they’re getting on to it. A lot of time in corporations gets wasted because people get on conference calls without knowing why they’re joining.
Whether to follow up with the team or discuss quarterly results, it’s vital that you set the agenda before the call so that everyone sticks to what’s expected from them.
Without this, it’s easy to lose focus and send the call out of control. It would be best if you also made it clear there’ll be time for all other discussions at the end of the call so that participants have the assurance that they can raise separate issues.
2. Introduce Key Callers
At a meeting, you will introduce key people to the rest of the group, right? The same etiquette should be extended to virtual meetings as well.
When you host a conference call, always introduce the other speakers and key participants
– name, role, and subject – and make sure they do the same before they speak, so all participants know exactly who is speaking and when.
This will ensure that people are aligned with what’s happening and don’t lose focus or track of the subject during the call.
3. Use the Right Call Conference Software
Without the right software and infrastructure, a virtual meeting can turn out to be a pain to manage.
Poor audio call quality can reduce effectiveness. Controls that are difficult to use and understand can cause interruptions. Poor connectivity can lead to frequent dropouts and rejoins.
Ensure that you invest in a reliable conference call software that offers affordable call rates based on the destination you’re calling, is easy to use, and has strong connectivity to keep the conversation going.
4. Keep the Number of Participants Low
The saying goes that too many cooks spoil the soup. This holds for cooking, for physical meetings, and virtual meetings as well.
If you’re on a call where all participants can share their inputs, invite-only those people whose presence is crucial; otherwise, the more people contribute their thoughts, the less a decision will get reached. And this is a huge drain on productivity for organizations.
If you’re on a call where participants can only mutely listen, you can allow as many people to join.
5. Start and End on Time
Nothing wastes more time for people in organizations than futilely waiting for someone else. They could have invested this time doing something productive.
It’s essential to start and end a conference call on time so that people can get back to their respective schedules and tasks. This means that the initiators of the call should be present on time, and also not wait for latecomers. It’s also not a productive practice to make latecomers catch up because that wastes everyone’s time.
Time is the most precious commodity in an organization. Everyone is always stretched for time. Give it the respect it deserves.
What tools do you use for conference calls? And what are the etiquettes and best practices which you ensure that your team follows on conference calls?
Do leave a comment. We would love to hear from you.
P.S. If you would like a conference call solution for your business, you can connect with us for a free, no-obligation demo.