Bakrabata.com – In managing a project, you will definitely be called to a conference call meeting at some point. These meetings can be tricky because you’re mostly not face to face with some or most of the attendees, which makes it harder to stay organized and focused. These few tips will help you stay on track and successfully reach your conference calling goals.
Prepare the Agenda in Advance
It is important to prepare the agenda for the conference call in advance so that the meeting has a predetermined structure that all participants can follow. Doing this beforehand will give your team and other remote participants time to prepare any comments, questions, and presentations needed to make the meeting run more smoothly. You can then tick off items from this agenda as you go so that the meeting proceeds in an orderly fashion and no important points are missed.
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Organize your team
Be sure to ensure that your team is familiar with proper conference call etiquette. Because it’s done over the phone, interruptions and environmental noise like typing or clicking or a pen can be much more distracting than in a typical meeting.
Also make sure everyone leaves their phones, arrives on time so there are no interruptions, and is ready for the meeting with a copy of the agenda and other additional materials. Also make sure all team members introduce themselves when they join and before speaking as not all participants can see you during the conference call. Also ask them to make brief comments, because without visual cues it is easy for the remote participant to ignore a protracted monologue.
Introductions are important In a conference call, it’s important for project leaders to start with an introduction to their team, and ask the other party or remote participant to do the same. This helps keep the meeting professional and structured, and there is less chance of confusion.
It’s also important to stick to your name, start the question with the name of the person you’re addressing, and encourage your team members to introduce themselves again before they speak because it’s impossible to recognize so many voices over the phone.
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Maintain control and momentum
As the project leader, you must lead and guide the discussion in a meaningful direction. Try to stay on the agenda, and keep the conversation flowing by asking questions and announcing the next topic under discussion.
Also, if someone is silent, don’t take this to mean approval, and keep asking for feedback and confirmation. Also, it’s easy for remote participants to feel isolated or your team forget they’re there, so make sure they stay engaged in the discussion and keep them from being distracted by talking to them while you’re speaking.
It’s easy to lose track of who said what in a conference call especially since you can’t tell the difference between most voices, so be sure to keep notes. It will also help you remember what was discussed and what decisions were made, and who was assigned what work until the next meeting.
Without this, your precious and carefully planned conference calls can go to waste, as it is impossible to keep so much information in your busy head without notes. In addition, these notes can be the basis for the agenda of the next meeting.
Some of these considerations can help any project manager lead better conference calls where all team members can take something important from the meeting, and important decisions are made instead of wasting precious time.
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