Musicians that get up on stage, ignore the audience, and just “play their music” don’t make it past the coffee house circuit. Famous bands all know the same secret; people going to a show want to be entertained.
Conference calls are no different. If you want to facilitate a conference call that will inspire people, get good decisions made and build team spirit, here are some easy steps to delivering “conference call Satisfaction”.
1. Prepare for success
I wish I could let you off the hook, but preparation is a vital part of setting up a great group call. Choosing the right participants, and getting confirmation of their attendance will set you up for a solid track record as a facilitator that “puts on a good show”. Luckily, it’s easier than you think using FreeConference.com’s Quick Scheduler.
TIP: Have a clear agenda. Post your “set-list” by email the day before.
LEADERSHIP TIP: One great way to design your conference call is to imagine your “audience” and ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?”
2. Use the stage
FreeConference Desktop Sharing with IBM Sametime is a wonderful tool to get people involved in the teleconference.
Use it to share the pictures, PowerPoints, and flow diagrams that will help make an engaging emotional connection between all members of the call, and keep the critical information at everyone’s fingertips.
Concerts don’t just have a stack of speakers; they have video screens and a stage. Use desktop sharing as your stage.
3. Hello Toronto, it’s good to be back!
Leadership is really a service career. If you want to inspire the people attending to help you with a project, you must have a focussed, “up-front” agenda, which starts with sharing any new or relevant information, and then provide an open and clear format for discussion and decision making.
You are the “front man” or woman at this show. Introduce the key guest participants and players, and start with everyone “approving” the agenda. Sometimes adding a suggestion from the floor will break the ice and help people feel they have a voice, even if you don’t think it is an important point.
And you never know—they might just know something better than you! That, after all, is why you should invite people to a conference call – because two heads are better than one.
4. Delegate the details
You don’t see Bono running over to the side of the stage to adjust his monitor levels or run the light show. If you want to facilitate a conference call smoothly, get yourself a “stage crew” that can manipulate the Desktop Sharing, handle emergencies, and take notes.
Technology can help too, like Conference Call Record.
You can set up Conference Call Record to document your call, and you’ll get an email within two hours with an MP3 file of the entire call, which you can mount as a Podcast, or share with participants.
You can have the meeting automatically transcribed as a reference for minutes, or to create written content for blogs or even books.
Bands make videos for DVDs and Internet releases of their concerts, and you can use Call Record to transform a meeting into a permanent resource.
5. Make the connections
Conference calls are way better than emails at helping people communicate because they can hear the subtle audio “body language” clues they need, but as the facilitator, you must check in with your group throughout the meeting to make sure everyone is following and is in agreement with what has been said. Restate each decision or “next step” and make sure there is consensus and understanding before moving on to the next topic.
6. It’s a wrap!
At the end of the meeting, restate all major action items and allow for final questions/comments. Like the “encore” of a concert, a short “check-in” about how every one feels is vital.
“Was that good for you too?”
Be sure to thank participants for their time, especially key guests. Let people know when they will receive their notes and follow-up, in a handy Mp3 or transcription from Call Record.
Can I get a Selfie?
To facilitate a conference call as good as a rock concert isn’t that hard.
It just takes preparation, a clear agenda, the right added technology to aid communication, and you as a facilitator freed up to focus on your role of leading the discussion to a productive, shared decision.
You’ll know you’ve hit the big time when people start posting Instagrams of themselves on your conference calls.