How to Survive and Thrive on Conference Calls

by Ty Collins on May 24, 2019 in Communication, Meetings
engaging audience with video

Meeting management can be a bear. Conference calls can be all but impossible to run effectively. The list of woes is long. They never start on time. Someone’s always muted and they don’t realize it, and inevitably there’s one person who can’t find the bridge, but, love them or hate them, conference calls and remote meetings are a necessary evil in today’s remote work culture.

And those obstacles are just the tip of the iceberg. Conference calls can be difficult for a variety of other reasons. Poor cell phone reception and/or wi-fi rank at the top of the list. Maybe there are distractions in the background. Ever had to compete with someone’s dog for air time? Then there are the invites who see remote meetings as an opportunity to zone out? Suffice it to say, schedules, travel arrangements, and modern life make timely in-person meetings all but impossible.

Despite plenty of obstacles in your way, you can conduct a successful meeting and survive a conference call by following a few simple rule. Your employees can even thrive in remote meetings if you can evangelize this guidelines throughout your company.

1. Set Strict Rules

When you meet in person, you can see someone sitting across the table from you. You can essentially see what they are doing and hear what they are saying at all times. But this isn’t the case with a conference call. With that in mind, you have to set and enforce stricter rules for communication. You could require that each speaker states his or her name each time they want to talk and address the rest of the group. This is how people can put a face to the voice speaking on the other line.

2. Appoint Moderators

If you’re the leader of the meeting, it’s difficult to keep track of what everyone is doing. Appoint a moderator who can keep track of the time each participant spends talking and engaging in the discussion. The moderator will make sure each person gets a chance to be involved in the important matters of the discussion. A moderator can also help people refrain from tuning out when the current topics don’t interest them.

3. Ask More Questions

The best way to keep people involved is to ask specific questions. If someone has been silent for a while, you can ask them their opinion on something important from the meeting. And as the leader of the meeting, you’ll need to listen more and talk less than you would in a regular meeting in person. Each person will need a certain amount of time to completely develop their ideas when they talk. And you will need to listen so that you can formulate a response in the most efficient and helpful manner possible.