Do you know what really goes on during the large conference calls you’ve been hosting? From what you can tell, they have probably been successful. But having no visual of your audience can make your assumption limited and unreliable.
It may sound easy, but paying attention to a high-volume conference call is a real bear. Participants often get caught up with other engaging yet irrelevant activities during on-call meetings. As a matter of fact, a survey concluded that 91% of employees are admittedly daydreaming, 65% are doing other tasks, 63% are checking social media or sending emails, and 55% are eating or making food whilst on call. Some are even playing video games and shopping online (25% and 21% respectively) which is a real eye opener.
Being vigilant for these disturbances adds more tasks to your plate. We make it easier for you with these tips on how to get participants to pay attention during conference calls of large groups:
Establish a concise agenda
Prepare a short, concise agenda and provide the main objectives you have to complete in your meeting. Many hosts do not even prepare key points and only start to identify them during the call itself. That’s such a waste of time that makes participants engage in other productive tasks instead. Create a structure of the meeting and strictly maintain a schedule – conference calls should last 30 minutes at the most. Remember, the average human attention span as of date is 8 seconds. That’s even shorter than your goldfish’s 9 seconds! Be quick at your feet and establish a clear benefit to hook people’s attention right from the beginning.
Keep it interactive
Remember that one professor who had a habit of randomly calling out names during his lectures? Works well in keeping you focused, right? Do not hesitate to do the same during conference calls. Call random names, ask questions and collect inputs, and you will less likely to have participants tuning out the call. It does not matter if you don’t call out every participant. Knowing that there is a chance they’ll be called is enough keep them on their feet. And it works every time!
Review action items
Don’t forget to review action items before you transition to a different topic. Make sure everyone gets the discrete tasks documented as most people often overestimate their memory. You can also revisit the established agenda before the call ends. Have someone summarize key points of your discussion and open the floor for questions or clarifications to make sure everyone is on the same page.
The majority of participants have a hard time focusing on conference calls mainly because it’s a complete audio experience, and studies show that 63% of people are actually visual learners. Therefore, you can avoid people wandering off your meeting by integrating a full audio, video, and web experience for large event calls. Combining visual and verbal is a proven technique to better people’s memory retention and critical thinking. Utilize visuals like graphs, charts, or diagrams that participants can lend their attention to, to win over their attention.