Keep these helpful pointers in mind next time you dial in.

By Caylin Harris and Maggie Seaver
October 07, 2019

If your team is remote or even short on meeting space, a conference call is the best way to share an update or get feedback. To take advantage of the (precious) time everyone has on the line, the person leading the call needs to keep the conversation moving while making sure everyone has a chance to get a word in. Not being able to see each other and read visual cues can lead to awkward silences, interruptions, and overlapping speakers—but use these helpful tips to avoid clumsy phone exchanges and lead an effective conference call.

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Designate an emcee.

The person in charge should introduce everyone. If that’s you, be sure to mention each person’s role, and then have them say hello so people can ID their voice. Ask the group to mute their phones so distracting background noise is eliminated.

Pass the ball.

Pose questions to individuals instead of the whole group, which sometimes results in crickets. Say, “I know this is Julie’s area of expertise. Julie, did you have anything to add?” This gives people a chance to speak up and lets you get information, thoughts, and feedback from someone immediately, making the meeting more productive.

Consider a conference tool.

Online tools, like Zoom, make it easy for the group to contribute thoughts without disrupting the flow of the call. Participants can pose questions to the emcee or share links and files to back up a point they’ve made.

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