Have you ever been invited to a call and had no idea why? How many times were you waiting for someone to set up the mic or the speakers? I bet more than once. The following post will help you organize your conference calls in a structured manner and hopefully save a lot of time!
It still surprises me how often we fail in small, simple things. We all know it: we struggle with connection, with the tools or we have to wait for people who are always late. Even me - and I regard myself as an experienced call-maker - repeat the same mistakes. I forget to leave some spare time before the call, so I’m running late, desperately looking for a free conference room. Sometimes I attend meetings that have no agenda defined – even though I promised myself that I wouldn’t do that anymore!
Lately, my colleague has shared a funny Tweet about Bingo call:
I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s so true! And the funniest thing is that we all struggle with the same problems. This made us prepare a super short guide to organizing conference calls.
Before the call
1. Prepare an agenda
Always prepare an agenda and goals of the meeting. People will know why they are there and what has to be discussed. If you are invited for a meeting with no agenda, don’t be afraid to ask for it. In the end, why should you waste your time if you have no idea what is expected from you?
2. Define the timeframe for the call
It’s better to make it as short as possible. You can try to define timeboxes connected with the agenda.
3. Send reminders
You know the participants best. Usually, we send reminders a day before, but for a specific group of people I send reminders one hour or 10 minutes before. It really works!
4. Set it all up
Make sure that:
- Conference place is booked
- Microphone & speakers are ready
- You chose the right tool for a meeting and everyone knows about it (Skype, Hangout, Gotomeeting etc.)
- You are able to accept/invite participants when using your tool.
During the call
1. Delegate responsibilities
- Always have one person who keeps an eye on the agenda and checks the time vs. meeting goals
- Always define who prepares the meeting notes after the call
2. Set the maximum time you will wait for late participants (e.g. max 5 min).
If the crucial participants miss the meeting, maybe you should consider postponing the call
3. Mute people if they are not talking (no one likes to hear street noises)
4. If someone is not needed, ask him/her to leave the call after his/her part is done
5. If you see the discussion takes too long or goes in the wrong direction - plan it to be taken offline
6. Remind participants how much time is left
7. Turn video off after everyone says hello
It will reduce the risk of losing the connection and repeating things during the meeting
After the call
1. Meeting notes rule!
The most important thing: make sure that they are done and send them to participants right after the call
2. Send invitation for the next meeting.
We all love them, don’t we?
If you managed to read all the steps, here is a little extra something for you. Click and download our super short checklist. Print it, share it with your friends, store it on your disk - you won’t have to remember everything by heart!
Feel free to share your thoughts or tips!
- Dorota JaworskaProject Manager