Conference Call Ground Rules – How to Avoid Some Basic Problems

It really doesn’t matter what you are using a conference call for. You can use if for a teleseminar, for a telemeeting, for a telecourse, for a sales presentation or for any other purpose. And it doesn’t already matter if the content is for learning purposes or for sales purposes.

in spite of of why you are using conference calling there are certain basic problems imposed by the media and the conference call technology.

In this article I’m going to show you how to avoid some basic problems that affect conference calls.

The first problem you will run into is the inclination for people to arrive late at a conference call. Yes, this is a standard problem with any meeting. But for some strange reason it seems to be worse for conference calls.

The strange reason seems to be that in a confront-to-confront meeting you can be seen to be late. And as generations of mothers can tell you, never underestimate the value of guilt! But for a conference call — unless you are hosting the call — no one knows if you are early or late.

There are several elements to the solution which you can steal from confront-to-confront meetings. The first is to always schedule conference calls for strange times for example, 9:22 in the morning or 1:07 in the afternoon. Of course you always open your meeting on time in that case. Another different is to open your meeting after a random delay. Maybe five minutes this meeting and 3 the next.

But the best technique is the carrot and guilt method. Start your meeting off strong with some form of carrot. Something that your audience wants to know or have. Then refer to it throughout the meeting but never give it out again. People will want to get the carrot so they’ll show up on time the next time!

A second shared problem is the presence of background noise. For some reason, people have forgotten — or never learned — how to communicate when they are listening to a phone conversation. Instead of whispering or writing their message, they speak at complete quantity. Of course, there’s always the problem of children and other distractions.

You should always ensure that you can close your door to reduce the chances of interruptions and background noise from your side. You also should ensure that you know how to place either an individual or all extensions on mute. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to ensure there is only one speaker at a time is to mute everyone else.

The biggest problem of all, however, is the simple without of feedback. When easing a meeting (any kind) we get used to reading our audience’s body language. slightly hard to do with an audio presentation.

With conference calls you need to switch your technique from watching to listening. Simply put you need to frequently ask the audience a question. Work to keep them involved and tuned into your presentation. Just don’t give them responsibilities to do. “Write this down on your handout”, sounds amateurish because it is. Your audience will be insulted. Find other methods that work for you, sound natural and fit the flow of your conference call.

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