It is true that physical, face-to-face board room meetings are in a decline with the rapid growth of telecommunication technology. With the workforce becoming increasingly remote, more people choosing to work at home, and the need for colleagues from different offices (and even from around the world) to collaborate, conference calls are turning into a common ritual.

But despite the benefits of conferencing calls, many people dread being a part of them. If you ever joined one before, or even hosted them, you know firsthand how disastrous they might turn out to be. Here are six tips that will help you improve your next meeting:

1) Prepare Your Meeting Ahead of Time

While this might be obvious, you should always organize your conference call ahead of time. You should also have an established objective so that the meeting has a direction. This leads to an agenda (or subgoals) that you and your team can work towards during the meeting so that everyone will stay on topic, and not delineate to other discussions. In our web-scheduling system, you can send your team the subject and agenda of the meeting while you create your email invite. Just remember to keep invites relevant, short and simple. Your team definitely cannot work out an entire year of plans and projects on one 1-hour conference call.

2) Keep Distraction to a Minimum

There are tons of distractions within the office environment that can deter you from working. This Harvard Business Review article lists many things that people do while a conferencing call is taking place, including snacking or completing other work. Some people even drop off the call and then claim to have fallen asleep. Puffin has already posted some tips about how to cut down on distractions, which can be found in the FreeConference.com blog.

3crappy1) Embrace the Video Meeting

While some of us still prefer audio-based conferences, the addition of video conferencing is starting to see acceptance within the workplace. Since participants are keeping their eyes on one another, everyone stays engaged with the topic at hand. The Screen sharing feature also adds another visual dimension to the meeting, and creates a more in-depth discussion.

4) Have Everyone Follow “Meeting Etiquette”

To ensure that everyone is mindful that the conference call is aimed at ‘getting things done’ and not chatting away about the weekend, everyone should follow the meeting etiquette. Everyone has set aside their work and put effort into joining the call, so it is important that no time is wasted. Treat your conference call like an in-person meeting!

5) Assign Roles and Keep Everyone Involved

If your previous meetings have not gone smoothly, you should consider getting more people to take an active role in them. A meeting should have a leader and a facilitator; the leader is someone who organizes and runs the meeting, while the facilitator makes sure the meeting is on track with the agenda. Don’t be afraid to mute someone if they are hogging the mic; if someone is quiet, ask them to share their thoughts so that the meeting is inclusive to all the participants. Make sure you leave time to appreciate everyone’s contribution so that the meeting ends on a good note.

A good organization is like a machine that requires well-oiled cogs; cogs which are comprised of your fellow colleagues. Hosting conference calls is one way of keeping everyone engaged and up-to-page.

6) Use FreeConference.com

If you are looking to have the best conference calls, it only makes sense to use the best service! FreeConference.com lets you do all of the above, and much more. If you need more information, a full list of features can be found on our website.

Why not try hosting a conference call with FreeConference today? It’s easier than you think, and better than whatever crappy web conferencing service you’re using…

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