Holding a successful and productive free conference call, like many other things, is a matter of preparation, common sense and a little creativity thrown in for good measure.
- Even if you've done it a hundred times before, be the first person to arrive for your conference. You'll be better organized to start the meeting and you can personally welcome everyone.
- Remind everyone to put their phones on mute during the call, and to not put their phones on hold during the free conference call. On-hold music or beeping from their phone might be picked up by the conference.
- Ask everyone on the call to preface any comment or question with their name so everyone knows who's talking.
- For scheduled meetings, distribute the dial-in information ahead of time along with any background material necessary to the call.
- Work from a quiet place. As much as I love them, my budgies get moved from my home office before a conference. Along the same lines, turn off radios, mute other phones and close your office door to eliminate background noise.
- Recording your conference call is an excellent idea, even when someone is taking notes. When you are recording a call, let everyone know about it.