Conducting business online means having virtual meetings, either teleconferences or webinars, on a regular basis. Without the traditional face-to-face business connection, it’s vital that these virtual meetings are easy to manage, focus on important information and satisfy all of the meeting’s participants.
This post will focus on providing tips to help you conduct successful teleconferences, whether you are meeting with a small group or presenting to a larger audience. My next post will provide a list of free teleconference services you can explore to conduct your phone meetings.
Planning the Teleconference
- Create an agenda, call outline or program and make sure all participants have a copy before the teleconference.
- Work in a question and answer session or other participant contribution segment.
- If appropriate, consider sending out a call for questions and feedback prior to the teleconference so participant input can be worked into the agenda.
- Send out support materials prior to the call so participants can print or review them ahead of time.
- Schedule a start and end time for the call and stick to the schedule.
- Consider time zones before scheduling the call to make sure it’s convenient for all participants.
- Provide all of the necessary dial-in information, including various time zone translations, at least one day before the call.
- Consider recording the call for people unable to attend or to help in creating a meeting recap after the call.
- Send out a meeting reminder 2-3 days prior to the call.
Preparing Your Equipment
- Plan to use a landline telephone, if possible, to ensure good quality (and encourage participants to do the same).
- Get a good headset if you plan to use a VoIP connection and test it prior to the call.
- Limit as much background noise as possible.
- Know how to mute your connection and tell participants how to do the same.
- Avoid speaker phone to avoid echoes and clarity challenges.
- Test your connection and call features (such as recording) prior to the live call.
- Have a backup method to connect to the call, just in case.
Conducting the Teleconference
- Appoint a moderator to make introductions, keep on-task and facilitate the call.
- Appoint someone to take notes during the call.
- Set ground rules for the call if there will be more than three participants to avoid talking over each other.
- Start on time, and delay no longer than five minutes if participants are late to dial in.
After the Teleconference
- Provide a recap and overview of next steps with specific responsibilities at the end of the call.
- Touch base with participants after the call to get their feedback on how it went and what can be improved for next time.
- Send a written recap and/or meeting minutes to participants after the call.
What tips would you add to this list for conducting successful teleconferences?
Image credit: Tory Byrne