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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

8 Tips for a Successful Conference Call

Conference Calls are the norm in business today so it’s very important to ensure that they are successful. I was on a 40 person conference call once and it was a big joke. I am sure no one was paying any attention because at the end the call there was no call to action on a RFP response for a $10M deal. Guess what? The outcome was a disaster but then that’s how it works in the world of Telco.

1) Set the time well in advance of the call. We’re all busy, our schedule’s are full. Set the time of your conference call far enough in advance to allow your audience to fit it in to their existing schedule.

2) Help them remember with your reminders. Help your audience remember by reminding them several times prior to the time of the call. We recommend reminders one-week, one-day and one-hour before the time of the call.

3) Use Clear and Thorough Instructions. With each reminder, use clear and thorough instructions to join the call. That includes the conference dial-in number, the conference codes, what to do with each, when to do it, and what they will experience at each step.
Oh, and the time of the call, in multiple time-zones is important, too!

4) Know the features on your conference call and how to use them. There are many easy-to-use features that serve to enhance your reputation by creating a productive conference call for your attendees. Make sure you know how to use them prior to the call. Mute parties if needed and ensure the idiots who go on Hold understand when they do so we get to hear music.

5) Set an Agenda. The best way to make the best use of everyone’s time on the conference call is to send a prepared agenda prior to the start of the conference call. That helps everyone prepare in advance their expectations and possible participation.

6) Start on time. Nothing communicates disrespect like repeatedly failing to start a meeting on time. Nothing loses enthusiasm and participation like the failure to start a meeting on time. Set the right tone, right from the beginning with starting on time.

7) End on time. You had a great conference call. The presentation was flawless. The participation was enthusiastic. Now end the call on time. That helps insure the subsequent word-of-mouth for your call and YOU is positive.

8) Call to Action. Is there one? if so make sure that responsibilities and tasks are assigned with a plan for follow up.

Bonus Tip: Make sure that callers are not on cellphones or using Skype as lousy connections start to make the call difficult if parties cannot be heard, background noise, or poor quality IP connections.

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