Intercall is one of the world’s largest international conference call company. And Intercall’s own research showed that more than 60 percent of respondents admitted to doing something else while on a conference call. This “doing something else” is one of the key contributors to ineffective teleconferences.
I think it is safe to say many of us would like to improve our teleconferences at work. Many of them are unfortunately either too long, not focused enough, or generally unproductive. So what can you do? I’m a terrible cook but I like to try cooking something once in a while. One thing that makes it easier is to have a clear, easy-to-follow recipe to use. This got me thinking. Why can’t we have simple recipes for business topics such as teleconferences? I know that not all teleconferences are the same, but here is my attempt at a recipe for a good starting point for a teleconference.
- 2 or more well-prepared and lively team members
- Working phones and computers
- An agenda
- A clearly defined moderator
- A clearly defined minute taker
- Listening skills
- Focus – as in not being part of the 60% who are doing something else during the call!
- Mix your team members, phones, and computers lightly until energized. Make sure the technology is working the way it will be needed and the team members are ready. Add coffee here if needed.
- Take the agenda, combine it with the moderator and use this to begin the call. Make sure the call starts on time and the moderator leads everyone through the agenda as efficiently as possible. Also, take the minute taker out of its package at this time and activate it.
- Pour in the participation, focus and listening skills from all during the call. This is important as it will give the necessary flavour needed to make your call productive. Bake this for 15-30 minutes (depending on the time given for the call). IMPORTANT: do not over-bake i.e. go over the agreed time, as this will cause a sour or bitter taste for all involved.
- Shake and clean the call by having the moderator summarize the key points, confirm the action items that need to be done and by whom, and schedule the next call.
- Let the call sit for a few hours to cool after baking. Then, have the minute taker send out the minutes to the participants, and those who could not be on the call to ensure long lasting flavour.
- Enjoy the tasty results of a productive teleconference!
By following this recipe, hopefully your calls won’t turn out as bad as my lasagne usually does.
Successful teleconferences aren’t difficult to have, but it does take a little effort by everyone to ensure consistent, productive success.
Good luck with yours and happy cooking!