Conference calls can be a productive and efficient way to hold meetings, especially for those who would otherwise travel far to attend. However, if the call is not conducted in a professional and organized way, it can be a waste of time for every participant. Here are some useful tips that will help make conference calls worth your time.

1. Stick to the agenda

It is always easy to go off topics in traditional face-to-face meetings in one single room; let alone in a phone meeting. An agenda will help prevent the meeting from straying too far. It will help structure the whole conference and keep the meeting on track. The topics and problems covered in the meeting should be set and emailed to every involved member beforehand. This will give the participants enough time to get prepared for what will be discussed and what they will propose.

2. Avoid multi-tasking

In the age of multi-tasking, it is hard to restrain yourself from checking emails, answering phone, or having side conversations when the conference call is on-going. But you will soon find yourself distracted by the emails, calls, and small chats if you are not paying attention. Also, it is quite awkward when the distracted sounds, like popped-up sounds and unwanted talks, bump into the phone meeting.

3. Encourage participation

If the conference call is kept interactive, a stream of thoughts and ideas are bound to develop. To get the most benefits from the phone meeting, all you need to do is to get everyone involved and encourage ideas and strategies from them. Make sure that you let them know you value their opinions so that they will be more willing to contribute.

4. Keep the noise level down

Any noise can be amplified over the speakerphone. It is wise to look for a quiet place before the conference call is to take place. Another effective way to avoid noise is to mute yourself when other members are expressing their ideas, and wait for an appropriate moment. When you are in the train station or airport replete with noise, it is hard for you to hear what is being discussed. Using an earphone will help reduce noise, and make you never miss the important information.

5. Record the conference call

Make the best of the meeting time, and let the recorded version of conference call help you go back and review all the important points discussed. Make sure the recorded one reaches every participants involved. Therefore, everyone is able to recall all the details, and those who miss the phone meeting will receive the same information as those who are there.

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