Avoid Conference Call Hell

Kudos to Tripp and Tyler and the folks at Leadercast for humanizing the Conference Call in Real Life. Even if you have already seen this video, it’s worth watching again because it will make you laugh:

With just a few adjustments, you can make your next conference call more efficient.

Here’s How:

Create an action plan – and stick to it

Most calls just share information. Instead, shift the focus to drive action. If the word “update” is in your agenda, take it out. Then, send your agenda and dial in/access information in advance. If you have materials to review during the call, send those ahead of time, too. This will help callers keep their heads in the game.

Show energy

When nobody can see you, it’s even more important to have energy and vocal variety in your voice. Add energy by standing up, smiling, raising your eyebrows, moving and gesturing (yes – even though it’s just a call). Getting other voices on the line will also help keep the energy level up – which leads us to our next tip…

Don’t make it a one-person show

It’s easy to hit “mute” and multitask during a call. Admit it – we’ve all done it. How do you nip this in the bud? Involve others. Give a heads-up to a few people in advance – to let them prepare, themselves, and reduce those awkwardly long quiet patches. If they know they might have to weigh in on the fly, they’ll multitask less.

Own it

Calls can often get out of hand. If it’s your call, own it and run the show. Keep it on time. When you want interaction, discussion and dialogue, ask targeted questions.

Sum it up

Before everyone hangs up, don’t forget to call out action items. Confirm any deadlines and clarify next steps. Delegate where necessary before everyone hangs up.

These tips, though small, can make a huge impact on your next conference call.  Whether you use them during your weekly 8am team meeting, or in special circumstances like delivering bad news to your team, they are easy to adopt and incorporate into everyday life.

Try it on your next call.

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