As more and more companies are trying to control their costs, conference calling has become an integral part of the business world. There was a time when conferences meant a person had to travel long distances and stays in dreary hotels which meant they would be unavailable for days. They were tiring and very expensive affairs.
As conference calling became popular, more and more companies saw the benefits of not having to spend so much money on travelling-related expenses for their personnel. They also realized that conferencing saved a lot of time which can be used more productively. Companies can now meet or confer with their staff either by audio, video or web-based conferencing.
To make a call conferencing more productive, there are some things that need to be considered:
A conference call is more successful if it is planned. There must be a list of who are the required participants. The agenda also needs to be mapped out. Unnecessary discussions waste time. Any memos, notes or documents that need to be disseminated to participants must be made available ahead of time to avoid any problems. Any presentations that need to be made should be checked ahead of time so that any problems with equipment and slides can be rectified. All emails or invitations to join the calls should be sent to the right people. There is nothing more frustrating than sending an email to the wrong person and having that wrong person join the conference call.
It is important that the call starts and ends on time. Participants need to make themselves available a few minutes before schedule to ensure no one is tardy. It is also best, if there is more than one person to lead a discussion that the person is informed ahead of time how long he or she can speak. Any Q&A must be time-bound to avoid wasting time. If food needs to be served, especially if the conference is a long one, the food must not be too distracting.
When someone is speaking, the others need to listen and avoid talking amongst themselves during the call. This saves a lot of time as matters need not be unnecessarily repeated. It is also necessary for participants, who are about to speak, to introduce themselves if there are participants who are joining only via audio.
There must always be someone assigned to take notes as it is impossible to remember everything that has been discussed in the conference. Recording the session is good but what if something goes wrong with the recording equipment?
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