Remember this video?
Having worked in international teams for the most part of my career, I couldn’t have done my job(s) justice without conference calls. While conference calls still cannot substitute good old fashioned face-to-face meetings starting with a handshake, they go a long way. But what happens when they start to make everyone less productive?
10 do’s and don’t’s of conference calls
- Time management: Try to respect everyone’s time especially when you’re in different time zones when scheduling calls
- Invite only necessary colleagues – identify critical stakeholders on a given project
- Send out an agenda prior to the call so everyone knows what to expect and is cognizant of the topics to be covered vis-a-vis the allocated time
- Your agenda should have a clear objective and intended outcome
- Be aware of your surroundings. We can hear your dog/baby/traffic/colleagues
- Speak up. If you tend to muffle or speak fast, learn to enunciate
- Stay on topic. If you find yourself or someone else going off on a tangent, agree to take the conversation offline
- If it’s a video conference, try to use video. The absence of video could give the impression that you’re not brave enough to face the hard questions
- Give a heads up to the call organizer if you need to drop off
- Have a follow up plan e.g. an email with meeting notes outlining next steps