The coronavirus pandemic is causing many companies to shift to remote work, and most of us are not accustomed to working remotely. Your organization is still operating, and you are still handling employee relations, payroll, mediating conflict, and managing company culture (which can bring new challenges with a new work environment).
You need a way to speak with employees at large, and oftentimes, a conference call is the best way to do so. If you are wondering how to minimize distraction and get the most out of conference calls with your employees, check out our seven tips for effectively running a conference call!
- FIX THE FOCUS.
A three-hour conference call is going to lead to employees checking their email, browsing the news, paying their bills…basically, it’s going to lead to them doing anything but listening to what you are saying. Keep the information you are sharing short and concise, and cover what you need to share in a simple, easy-to-understand way.
- RECORD THE CALL.
If an individual didn’t get a chance to be on the call, or someone needs to reference the HR policy you talked about when the call is over, recording the call allows the information to be available at large after the meeting. Many conference call providers, such as Join.Me & EZTalks, give you the ability to record calls.
It is also a good idea to let everyone know that the call will be recorded.
- PLAN & PREPARE.
This coincides with fixing focus; participants on the call are more likely to be engaged and not stray off topic if topics are set in place before the meeting. An agenda creates a “script” for employees to follow throughout the call. Priority Matrix is a wonderful tool to use to coordinate your conference call agenda. To maximize effectiveness, include why you are meeting, who is attending the meeting, and when and where the meeting is.
- INTRODUCTIONS ALL AROUND.
When conducting the call, you should be sure to introduce yourself when you join the call, and if you feel it is appropriate and you have adequate time, have participants introduce themselves, as well. This brings a sense of camaraderie to the meeting, especially if the employees don’t know each other well.
- USE VIDEO IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. VIDEO IS KING!
On audio calls, it is very easy for the focus to be lessened as people zone out and scroll through Instagram to look at cat videos for the seventh time that day. (Everyone loves a good cat video, but not when it leads to those on the conference call missing out on important information). Visual cues foster a sense of participation and engagement, and video conferencing can also limit interruptions from other team members. When you can’t see visual cues, you will more than likely talk over someone.
- CHOOSE A QUIET PLACE.
Conduct your conference call where the kids are sure not to run through the background, the washing machine isn’t running, the dogs aren’t barking…you get the picture. In other words, you don’t want a repeat of this video!
- LAST BUT NOT LEAST, ALWAYS RECAP.
Take time for a recap at the end of the call. Summarize the information discussed and action points that need to be taken. Make sure that those on the call know the best way to contact you if needed. A recap is the cherry on top of the cake.
While the coronavirus has seemingly thrown the world into chaos, you don’t have to have chaotic conference calls. We hope that the above tips inspire and aid you in working in a remote environment.