3 Tips for Leading a Successful Conference Call

Prepping for a conference call is much more than just scheduling an hour-long conversation; you need to be organized.

You need to know the location of everything that could come up in conversation.

You need to be aware of how much time you have scheduled and how quickly time is passing.

And, most importantly, you need to have a firm grasp of how to steer the conversation; what topics are to be covered; and what should be accomplished before the final 30 seconds when everyone says their hurried goodbyes.

When I schedule a conference call, there are three things I can’t live without:

1. A detailed agenda.

Organize a list of the important topics that have to be covered in the meeting, itemized by project and sensitivity. If possible, send the agenda well before the meeting begins, to allow attendees to add or remove items as needed.

2. A documents folder.

Create a folder on your computer with any and all material you’ve been working on and will be covering in the call. Creative pieces, written content, previous agendas, email chains, project calendars, presentations, reference material – anything and everything that might come up should be readily available.

3. A set length of time for the meeting.

Gently set expectations by noting the meeting’s length:

  1. On the agenda;
  2. At the beginning of the actual call;
  3. Whenever you’re getting off-track; and
  4. A few minutes before the call has to end.

What tricks do you find help you when you’re leading a conference call? How do you stay organized?

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