There’s no doubt that using a web, video, or audio conference is an ideal way to increase productivity in your organization. However, just as with in-person meetings, they’re only helpful when they’re well used. Used poorly, they become a dreaded waste of time. People might attend, but are they really gaining value? Are they actively participating… or multi-tasking?
Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure your meetings are adding real value for the participants. And when participants are engaged, the value to the business rises, too. Here are 6 pro tips to help you keep your conferences on track and highly productive.
1 – Distribute an Agenda
Every person with an active role should know in advance what their role is and be prepared. Use the agenda to keep participants focused and cue them that relevant segments are coming up soon.
2 – Start Calls Faster
Setting and following your agenda is the first step in running an efficient call. The second is to stay on schedule. Start your conference on time – as author and leadership coach Michael Hyatt notes in Seven Rules for More Effective Meetings, “When you start late, you inadvertently penalize the punctual and reward the tardy.”
One way to help minimize lateness is by using easy-to-remember permanent IDs so callers won’t have to look up random access codes. To get participants into an audio conference more quickly, use shorter, personalized, and permanent access IDs. Ever-changing, hard-to-remember, and difficult-to-enter long access codes cause delays of 1-3 minutes about 15% of the time because digits are entered incorrectly. Not only is it frustrating, but these delays cost your organization time and money. (If you want to learn more about starting calls faster and recovering hidden costs, download our free guide: Optimize Conferencing.)
3 – Minimize Disruptions
It’s difficult to stay focused on the content or ideas of the meeting when background noise comes through. Fortunately, you can automatically mute non-speakers, which attendees can remove if they need to talk. Or, for calls with presentations, hard mute cannot be overridden by participants, ensuring there will be no disruptions.
4 – Focus on Discussions and Decisions
Conferences are a quick, efficient way to keep people connected, get feedback, and collaborate on new ideas, but they can easily get off track. Prevent this by focusing on updates and discussion pertinent to decisions. Avoid general updates – people can catch up on those themselves.
5 – Track and Summarize To-Do’s
We recommend keeping track of action items created and summarizing them at the end. (Web conferencing tools can record them on your behalf.) We also suggest using on-the-fly recording to record the summary for later reference.
6 – Check Progress
Some meetings seem productive, but still nothing gets accomplished. This may be from a lack of follow-up. Be sure to check that progress is being made.
Don’t let your conferences turn into time wasters! Whether you’re using a web, video, or audio conference, be sure your hosts are following these 6 pro tips to add real value.
Your conferencing tools can also help make your calls successful. Download our free ebook for information on optimizing prompts and call flows for more effective and efficient conferences.