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You check your calendar for the day… Let’s see. One meeting with your direct team, one meeting with senior management, and finally, a meeting with a task force about current issues.
We’d bet yes. If you find most meetings to be wasteful, you aren’t alone. Employees typically consider half of all meetings to be complete wastes of time.
If you typically lead meetings and want to make sure they are useful, check out these five tips to make every telephone meeting matter!
1. Always Create an Agenda… and Share It
Before any meeting, create a clear agenda showing topics to be discussed. Include specific goals, any guest speakers, etc.
Don’t stop at creating the agenda. It is best to share this ahead of the meeting. This allows all attendees to think about question ahead of the actual meeting.
2. You’re Not in School, but Take Roll
While it may seem silly, taking roll is a helpful thing to do. Often when people call in for meetings, they don’t announce it.
Taking roll based on who you expected will help keep tabs on everyone who is present and let other attendees who are present. If this doesn’t occur, people often won’t have a clear idea of who is talking, which can cause confusion.
3. Stick to Start and End Times for a Telephone Meeting
Even if you have the ability to have an unlimited conference call, don’t. Even if people are late, start at the original time. You can follow up with any stragglers later on.
Keep an eye on the time. If you scheduled the meeting until 4 PM, start trying to get any final thoughts or ideas about 15-20 minutes ahead of time. This will help cut down on the likelihood the meeting will go over.
While you may not have anything scheduled, it’s important to be mindful of other people who may have a packed schedule.
4. Be Prepared to Call on People
Conference calls are only as good as the discussion that occurs. Sometimes, this required you as the facilitator to call on people who haven’t participated.
This is important to do to ensure everyone’s ideas are shared and no one person drives the entire meeting.
It may feel awkward, but consider using phrases like, “Before you elaborate, let’s hear from Jane.”
5. Always Discuss Action Items and Next Steps
Don’t end a conference call without clearly identifying what the next steps are. It should also be clear what each attendee is responsible for before the next meeting.
Have a list of any deliverables and have copies for everyone. This will help ensure they actually follow up on what was discussed.
Don’t Let a Phone Be a Barrier
While conference call meetings have allowed us to be connected than ever, sometimes meetings go off on unrelated tangents. With these tips, we hope you feel confident about going into your next meeting with all your colleagues!
Have any other tips you’ve successfully used during a telephone meeting? Please share with us in the comments!