NEWS May 26th, 2020

9 Ways To Handle Conference Calls

Albert Klingenberg, Account Manager, Levi9

Remote communication. Right now it’s even more fashionable than TikTok

But it never stops feeling a bit… well… weird. How so? Lots of reasons: frequent tech issues, no sound, out of sync video, unintentional interruptions – those kinds of things.

But let’s be honest – all of this is out of our control. Trouble is, the more people you add into a ‘mass call’ of sorts, the more likely things are to go wrong.

So why is it that we recently had a conference call with over 30 people and everything went according to plan? The call was a kickoff session with a big Dutch telecoms company. We’ve just landed them as a customer and are now one of their preferred suppliers (humblebrag…).

In short, given the high stakes, we couldn’t afford to mess this up. And we didn’t. We just put some ground rules in place: 9 ground rules, in fact.

And we’d like to share them with you right here.

Tips For Success

1) Have A Plan – Make sure everyone understands why you are meeting and what the goals and outcomes should be. Once the call is complete and follow-up actions have been agreed, confirm these by email as quickly as possible.

2) Be On Time – If the meeting is supposed to start at 9 am then make sure it does! Setting this is stone for all your meetings will ensure the meeting remains on schedule.

3) Assign Moderators – Make key members of your team the main conference call moderators. They’ll make sure your meeting stays on track.

4) Ban Tourists – Anyone who wants to be on the call is welcome. But what about those who don’t? Those who aren’t keen to engage, contribute ideas, or express vehement disapproval? As meeting chair you need to know who’s on the call and why. So make it your business to find out.

5) Listen Quietly – Tech tip! Make sure anyone who isn’t speaking is on mute. This will improve audio quality for everyone and make interaction clear and concise. Plus you won’t be subjected to dogs barking/weeping children.

6) Encourage Dialogue – The worst conference calls are those where one person talks endless about something. True understanding comes from interaction. So while it’s courtesy to keep quiet when someone’s chatting, no one should be afraid of raising their hand.

7) Question Time – As per above, you can’t have constant interruptions or questions during a 5 person+ call. You need to make it clear that attendees should signal to one of the moderators if they have a burning question. It might be that they hold off until the end or arrange a separate call to address a specific point.

8) Take Responsibility – Make sure either your moderators or team leads or whoever’s on the customer relationship frontline, are ready and willing to answer questions. They don’t need to have all of the answers, just the confidence to say they don’t know and that they’ll go away and find out the answers, as an action, before the next meeting.

9) Clarify Next Steps – Decisions were made, accords agreed, and next steps were confirmed… weren’t they? Sure they were – you know exactly what you’re doing!

Sounds simple, right? It is!

Put these ideas into practice and we’re certain you’ll see great results in your meetings, and this will benefit your teams and your customers respectively.

We believe when we come out of the COVID19 situation the culture of remote working is going to evolve further and emphasis on quality remote interactions will grow – so make sure you and your team have got your conference call processes aligned.

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