Tips for Teleconferences

By Heather Baldwin

If you’ve got a dispersed sales force, need to conduct your weekly sales meetings by teleconference and think you’ve got an easier job than those who do face-to-face meetings, think again. Phone-in meetings are a lot tougher than in-person meetings because there’s no body language to read, no way other than your voice to communicate energy and enthusiasm, and no way to tell if people are diverting half their attention to answering emails or straightening their desks. To make sure your teleconferences are as lively and productive as an in-person meeting, Phoenix Conferencing, a Phoenix-based provider of audio and Internet teleconferencing services (www.phoenixconferencing.com), offers these tips.

Before the call:

  • Notify your participants of the date and time of the call in advance.
  • Communicate any items that need to be prepared in advance of the call.
  • Set an agenda for the call. This works to keep your meeting focused and on track. If possible, send the agenda to the participants prior to the call.
  • Make sure you are in a quiet location where you will not be disturbed.
  • Turn off call waiting, pagers and cell phones.

    Starting the call:

  • Be on time or early.
  • Introduce yourself when you speak and encourage others to do the same.
  • Conduct a roll call so you know who is on the conference call.
  • Briefly state the agenda.
  • Do not put your phone on hold. This usually puts music into the conference and prevents others from continuing the meeting.

    During the call:

  • Ask for feedback from specific participants instead of the entire group.
  • Table any discussions that are not relevant to the agenda for a later time and place.
  • Try to involve all of the participants in the discussion.
  • Promptly deal with any noises or distractions.
  • Summarize the issues discussed and recap any action items resulting from the call.
  • Establish the day and time for the next conference call.