A conference call is a part of every professional’s life, but none of us truly enjoy them. However, they don’t always have to be the dreaded experience they’re made out to be, and with these five tools, you can help your conference calls run smoother than ever.
Having better conference calls can not only improve your customer service with clients, but also help reorganize and motivate your team members. When you have better calls, everyone leaves the call feeling like they’ve accomplished something.
1. Conference Services
Many businesses are still using landlines to host their conference calls. This method is not only outdated, but it also doesn’t help you achieve the best conference calls you can possibly have. Conference calling services for small businesses come in all shapes and sizes, but what’s important is that they’re web-based, affordable, and easy to use.
Whereas a traditional landline service will likely add extra fees to long-distance or international calling, online conferencing services will provide a secure and accessible hosting option without those extra fees. Anyone from anywhere in the world can connect with the toll-free dial-in number or web link.
These services are changing the way businesses host their conference calls and with great results. You can also record the calls for later review, use video conferencing options, and even take advantage of operator-assisted calls with some services.
2. A Meeting Agenda
What would a conference call be without a good agenda? A chaotic phone call! Whether you’re discussing something with a client or planning with your team for coming changes in your business, an agenda is an essential part of any good conference call.
Agendas come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties; there are digital agendas, physical agendas, written lists, etc. It doesn’t matter which type of agenda you choose, provided it covers the following information:
- When the call will take place
- Dial-in information
- Who’s attending the call
- Time blocks for each topic, as well as an overall time limit for the call itself
As long as your agenda has this basic information included, you’re right on track to better calls. Do you need an agenda for every call? The short answer is no, but let’s think about that for a moment. If you’re just jumping into a call for a few minutes, you probably don’t need an agenda.
However, if you’re planning an hour-long call to discuss the new marketing direction of the company, an agenda is probably the best way to keep the call on track for that hour.
3. Your Webcam
Sometimes, having a video conference call can be more effective than a simple audio call. Video conferencing is as close as you can get to an in-person conference, and is the perfect option for remote teams or clients, or even interviews. Your webcam is just one of many tools that can improve your conference calls, and here’s why.
Body language is a huge part of communication. When you can’t see what someone’s facial expressions or body language are trying to tell you, a lot can be lost as far as communication goes. Improving the way your team operates or how you interact with clients starts with great communication.
Using your webcam, you can host video conferencing calls instead of audio-only calls. This allows you to see who you’re talking to, what their body language looks like, and helps you communicate better overall.
4. A Better Microphone
Have you ever been in a conference call where someone’s mic was cutting in and out, giving lots of static, or simply not working? A better microphone is a simple fix to one of the biggest issues that conference callers face: technical difficulties.
Microphones are abundant in today’s market, so choosing the right one for your computer can be a challenge if you don’t know what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a new mic for conference calls, try this link.
5. Your Communication Skills
While this isn’t a physical tool, it’s still an important part of improving your calls. If you have trouble communicating, it can hinder your ability to effectively connect with your callers and have productive conference calls.
Here are some tips for better communication:
- Be confident in what you’re saying
- Listen to the speaker to hear, not to respond
- Set aside judgment
- Give feedback and accept it from others
- Take a break and collect your thoughts if you need to
Improving your communication skills is a tool that you can benefit from outside of the workplace as well. Focus on improving your communication skills for better client relationships, better meetings and conference calls, and a boost in your confidence.
A conference call that runs smoothly can benefit everyone involved, whereas the opposite can often hinder progress and lead to frustration. Use an agenda, try an online conference tool, get a better microphone, use video conferencing, and most of all, improve your communication skills.