Let’s be honest – no one really enjoys conference calls. Sitting on the line with who knows how many other employees while wondering what’s the point of you being there is hardly a good use of your time, not to mention your sanity – the first time three people talking over each other is funny, by the tenth time it’s maddening.
Conference calls are just prone to boredom, frustration and existential strife (“Does anyone even know I’m here?”). The way they’re conducted by most companies is just wildly inefficient. To prove the point, comedy duo Tripp and Tyler give you a look at what a conference call would be like in real life.
The problem is, far too many companies accept them as a necessary evil. But we’re here to tell you that there are ways you can revamp your conference calls to actually be productive and to engage employees – and not just have the majority of them be on mute while they do other work or watch Netflix.
Here are a few helpful conference call tips for making these virtual conversations worth everyone’s time:
Have a video conference instead
Conference calls can feel cold and impersonal. Video humanizes the experience by making face-to-face communication possible. Employees can feel like they’re real people, being creative and collaborative to work out solutions to business problems, instead of disembodied voices echoing about in a dark, empty void. And feeling like you’re in a void is never good for productivity and engagement, trust us.
However, video is just part of the solution. If your conference calls are aimless and boring, people are still going to daydream during them. So:
Edit them into something more manageable and relevant
Editing is the magic device that transforms a messy, rambling manuscript into a shiny gem of literature, and the same principle works when it comes to conference calls. So take out your red pen and show no mercy. Boil conference calls down to the absolute essentials when it comes to time, content and invitees. Keep it as short as possible. Only cover what really needs to be covered, and only invite those employees whose presence is vital.
Give the amorphous some structure
The nature of conference calls makes it easy for them to feel aimless and unfocused, and that’s not good for engagement. Grab and hold people’s interest by creating a detailed agenda for the conference call, and distributing it to attendees ahead of time. Block in time for questions throughout the meeting, too, to help minimize awkward interruptions or people talking over each other.
Use video, keep things short and sweet, and stick to the agenda to make conference calls more engaging and productive for your company.