The most effective conference calls

are just like a good party.

Who knew?

We all know that when a team wants to collaborate, surfing a FreeConference call is way better than riding a dusty email trail, because sharing a moment in time is the best way to maintain a human connection, and it’s human connections that drive business forward.

There’s no better place to connect than a party, and that is exactly how you should approach setting up an effective FreeConference call.

1. You’re the host!

Invitations are where it starts, and personalizing them is key! Conference Manager on FreeConferece will set up your teleconference in just a few clicks, send the special invitations, and even arrange free long distance calling for your “guests”. Use all the built-in party tricks of FreeConference.com, like Desktop Sharing, to make it easy for everyone to join your get-together.

2. Conference call mood lighting

Just like you would tidy up your house, lay in some food and drink, and make things look festive, you want to set up your FreeConference call effectively so that everyone can really focus and get the most out of it.

Suggest that everyone:

  • Find a quiet, private location where they aren’t visually distracted
  • Put their phones and computer volumes on mute
  • Stick the “Do not Disturb” sign on the door, etc.

If you met someone really interesting at a party and your phone went off, would you answer it? I hope not! “Conference call etiquette” is a strategy for success. No multitasking allowed.

Greet everyone and “Check-in”

Although you aren’t wearing a tuxedo or standing at your front door, be sure to welcome everyone graciously by name, make any necessary introductions, and ensure that everybody is present and hooked up. Start your conference call in style by asking everyone to do a 1-2 minute “check-in” about their surroundings, and how they feel “right now”. Depending what time zone you are in and where everybody is, this can be fun and draw people together.

Remember, effective conference calls are better than email because they build human relationships. The technique of checking in builds team spirit, and gives everyone the chance to work the rust out of their voice, be the expert, and take the stage for a moment. This is where your gang will spend a minute keeping in touch and cracking a few jokes. Use some humor to “warm up the room.”

3. Make sure everyone participates

There is something irreplaceable about hearing the sound of someone’s voice when you want to connect. Those little expressions, pauses and nuances, the little “hmmms” you hear, these are all key to successful communication.

As the host of this party, it is your job to make sure everyone gets to speak, so those important auditory clues are available for everyone to hear.

A huge advantage phone-based conference calls have over Skype and other “internet” calls, is the phone’s crystal clear audio signal.

Make the best use of that audio quality by keeping everyone contributing!

Every party has a wallflower, so keep track of who is hogging air-time, and who hasn’t said a word. If you ask, “How does that work for you, Cathy?”, you will at least send a message to Cathy that she is a valued member of the team, and just might unearth a critical viewpoint that never would have come to light in an email exchange.

4. Summarize and evaluate

Your last leadership tasks as host are evaluating the meeting, and summarizing decisions and take-away points for everyone. When you finish your summary, ask for feedback. “Did we miss anything? Is that the way everyone understood things?” Teleconferencing is the most effective way of gauging “buy-In” to a new or important idea.

The final stage is evaluation. Just like check-in, evaluation is a great time to go around the room and hear a few words from each participant. At least you’ll know they are still there! Here’s where the jokes and relationship building come back in.

“Was that good for you?”

The best way to engage the far-flung brains in your company

on an important topic or question is to

put your party hat on.

Use the power of an effective conference call

to help your team maintain the human connections

so important to success.