Hosting a successful meeting takes a certain amount of skill. You need to be sure that you have the attention of all the attendees, and that something productive result from the meeting. Otherwise, what was it for in the first place? Ensuring that you had the attention of those in attendance wasn’t fairly difficult to do in face to face meetings—you could easily see if someone’s interest was waning and take steps to reel them back in. However, phone conferences are a completely different story—you never know what the person or people on the other end of the conversation are doing, and there are certainly plenty of distractions in an office to take their attention away from a conference call.
Online conference calls are different from both of the above meeting types, in that you may not always be able to see the other attendees, but more features and functionality (depending upon which app you use) can help make the meeting more enjoyable and successful. But that doesn’t mean you can just sit back and relax either—it still helps to know how to host an effective conference call in order to ensure rapt attention from your colleagues, vendors, clients, or anyone else .
1. Know the software
Obviously you’ll want to have a good grasp of the application you are using for your online conference calls. The last thing you want to be doing in the middle of a meeting is searching the screen for the right button to push or have trouble adding attendees. That can cause the flow of the meeting to be destroyed in an instant, and also makes you look unprepared and unprofessional. Take the time to read the reviews of the different apps available for conference calls, and see which ones mention ease of use. One popular choice that is very easy to use, but still contains a lot of functionality and features is UberConference
2. Be prepared
If you are planning on sharing documents or screen sharing so that others can see videos, files, graphics or other content on your own screen, make sure everything is already in place and easy to find. Once again, you don’t want to be fumbling around looking for the right file. This can also ruin the flow of the meetings and cause people’s interest to wane. It also helps to provide everyone with the information about the planned meeting ahead of time, with perhaps a follow-up reminder shortly before the meeting is to begin. Obviously, you also want to make sure that those who you would like to attend the online conference calls have the application you are using installed on their PCs or mobile devices as well.
3. Be there early
It’s proper protocol to be the first one at the meeting—otherwise attendees will be wondering if they have made the right connection if they don’t find their host waiting once they join the connection. Being there early also enables you to meet and greet attendees as they join the connection, and you can answer any questions anyone might have before the meeting begins.
4. Be interesting and informative
Don’t just rattle off facts and figures. Try to add some value to the meeting by figuring out what the attendees might want, and then offer it to them. For example, if you are describing a new product or service, be sure to mention how the features will benefit them. If you are discussing a project, then be sure to make sure that everyone knows his or her role and responsibilities, and talk about how the completion of the project will help the business grow. The key word is “productive”. By providing useful information with a positive end result, attendees leave the conference knowing exactly what they will receive, and provides them with a goal or call to action.
You may have other tricks up your sleeve that you can use to ensure that your online conference calls are successful, but remember that you must also have an application that is reliable and easy to use. Take the time to learn about each of the applications you may be interested in and see which one will work best for your business needs. Remember also that those you ask to attend your online conference calls will need to use the same application, so be sure that it is easy for them to quickly learn as well.