During this time of teleworking, conference calls (CC) have become a necessary mode of communication. To keep your team in sync, you should keep each CC as focused and effective as possible.
Why the conference call is so indispensable?
A recent survey found that more than 60 percent of global employees now do remote work at least one day per week. The Internet-based video conferencing calls helps keep your remote team members content and focused. In a conference call, employees do more than share facts and figures.
Ideally, the CC should build synergy between group members.
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Keeping things simple
Even if your team members are technically savvy, strive to make your CC as simmple and painless as possible. If you still have workers based in-office, make sure that your office has a dedicated, fast data line. Always send out meeting invitations with clear instructions for joining. You should provide a direct link when possible. After securing a reliable telecom provider, you should be able to utilize the pinless conference call to great effect.
As the meeting facilitator, it is your job to keep the meeting focused. Your behaviour will set the tone for the entire group. Come to every meeting prepared with an agenda that prioritizes the most important action items. If you cover the most important items first, this doubles your chances of having an effective meeting.
When preparing your agenda, leave open space at the end for questions and comments. In business management, it is wise to follow the maxim, “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” Treat every query respectfully to maintain open, healthy communication with your team.
Consider opening up your digital conference room 10 or 15 minutes before the online meeting start time. This will give participants a window to log in and interface with others. If possible, try to end your meetings a few minutes early. That way, your team can chat afterwards without eating into their predetermined schedules. Short, focused meetings make for better productivity and employee morale.
A happy meeting is a productive meeting
At the start of every meeting, confidently and clearly assert your role as the meeting facilitator. Whatever the organizational chart may say, you will have the final say in your meeting. As the moderator, it’s your job to keep the discussion polite and professional. Some people may feel they have to be boorish or overbearing to get their point across. Shut down breaches of etiquette and allow every participant to speak unhindered. If a particular individual is a repeat offender, consider not inviting them to future meetings.
Dealing with disruptions from higher-ranking participants
During some conference calls, you might have a participant who outranks you in the organizational chart. Most superiors know how to delegate power and give you the space you need as a meeting facilitator. On rare occasions, a superior might throw their weight around and disrupt your agenda to no good end. How you respond to this depends on the dynamics of your company. If you have a good rapport with the offender, it may be appropriate to approach them to address your concerns. Gently remind your superior that if you aren’t allowed to set the agenda, you can’t fulfil your role as meeting facilitator. Tread carefully and end the interaction if it starts to become negative. If worse comes to worst, you can always let someone else in your company have a go at running your conference calls.
You should make your conference calls in a place where employees are comfortable asking questions, brainstorming and getting creative. With a dedicated line and the right software, your CCs can become a source of collaborative breakthroughs.
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