Conducting Conference Call Meetings that Stay on Track

Online meetingHolding regular meetings or conference calls is important for building relationships and achieving shared objectives. That said, no one likes to get pulled into meetings that drag on and on but accomplish little. Not only can holding such meetings waste time and hamper productivity, too many of these types of calls can cause invitees to not take your scheduled meetings seriously. In today’s blog, we’ll be going over some tips for how to conduct a conference call meeting that is more productive and less-time consuming.

Whether you’re trying to make meetings shorter or simply want to make sure all your agenda items get addressed during your conference, a little preparation along with free conference call software can help you keep meetings on-topic and on-time.

Why Hold Phone and Video Conference Calls?

Instead of holding a meeting, why not just send out a mass email or a group chat message?

Sure, emails, IMs, and text messages are easy—they require no scheduling and people can respond to them at their convenience. Some situations, however, call for more live interaction
(no pun intended). Phone and video conference calls not only help build personal connections between remote participants, but can also be more effective in terms of facilitating real-time discussions. The next best thing to meeting in-person, a well-managed phone or video meeting allows a lot more to be said in a lot less time.

After all, who wants to read through a page-long thread of emails?

How to Start a Conference Call

conference call laptopThe key to leading a successful conference call starts with preparation — knowing how to start a conference call properly will make it much easier to control and manage once it begins. While setting up a conference call or video conference is extremely easy, it’s always good to familiarize yourself ahead of time with the basics, such as defining a clear purpose for your conference, knowing how to get a conference call number, and how to dial a conference call.

Setting a Realistic Conference Agenda

One of the most important steps for preparing for a successful conference call is outlining an agenda. While a clear agenda doesn’t necessarily need to dictate every minute of discussion during your call, it should be detailed enough to serve as a guideline for what you plan to address. If you plan to hold a conference call for an hour, for example, you might want to allocate 15 minutes to discuss four different topics. Of course, the time to allot to each agenda item will vary depending on the number of items to discuss and the number of participants you anticipate. Using available free conference software is a great way to keep track of time as many such services feature online interfaces with clocks or timers that begin running at the start of your call.

How to Get a Conference Call Number

Thanks to the various free conference solutions out there, it has never been easier to obtain a dedicated conference line. After creating a free account, most services will assign you a conference dial-in number and a unique access code that can be used to call into your conference line anytime. Many also offer premium toll-free and international dial-in numbers as well.

How to Dial a Conference Call

Here comes the complicated part…just kidding! To call into a conference, participants will simply call the dial-in number provided and, when prompted, enter the access code assigned to the conference line. Since each conference line’s access code is unique, the access code the participants enter will determine who gets in (or doesn’t get in) to your call!

Prepare Yourself with a Meeting Checklist

Making sure your conference call goes smoothly is as easy as ticking boxes. The FreeConference Meeting Checklist is your guide to planning and holding successful phone conferences and web meetings.

Tips for Effective Meeting Management

Whether you’re hosting a meeting in-person, over the phone, or via video conference, many of the same meeting management imperatives still apply— such as setting a defined agenda, inviting all of the appropriate people, and keep tangential conversations to a minimum. One advantage phone and web conferences have over in-person meetings, however, is the level of control afforded to the conference moderator. Knowing how to conduct a conference call effectively means knowing how to utilize these controls.

How to Conduct a Conference Call Effectively Using Moderator Controls

Conference moderator controls empower the meeting leader to determine who can—and cannot— be heard during a conference call. In addition to changeable conference settings, most free conference call software services allow moderators to control their conferences via telephone keypad commands and online dashboard controls. Features of the online dashboard, such as active speaker, allow moderators to keep an eye on who’s talking and participating during a call. By enabling moderators to silence (potentially) disruptive participants, it is easier to keep meetings on track and curbing tangential conversations.

Remember: Stay Calm and Conference Call!

meeting guidelinesWhile hosting a conference might seem intimidating, conducting a successful call is very easy given the right tools and a little know-how. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always visit the FreeConference support page to get in touch with a conferencing expert!

Sign up and Stick to Your Meeting Agenda!

The pioneers of free conference calling technology, FreeConference.com and its team of experts are here to help you master the art of the successful conference call. With just a few clicks of a mouse, you can be on your way to hosting your own conference calls and online meetings. Sign up today!

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