Holding a large conference call is the way to go if you plan to facilitate a meeting with a huge number of participants from various locations. Not only will it save you a significant amount of time and money but maximizing the features of a large conference call also lets you connect with participants from all over the place with just a press of a button. However, since large event calls typically involve hundreds to thousands of attendees, it might be too much to handle — especially if you’re a non-experienced host.
There are numerous drawbacks in holding a conference call unprepared. Aside from keeping your audience engaged, you should take the necessary precautions to avoid technical difficulties from happening as well. Here are some examples of technical difficulties that you may experience:
Having a large number of participants also means dealing with a lot of background noise. This may cause the conference to be ineffective overall, especially in terms of call quality which can also lead to miscommunication among participants. Background noises can also distract and make you lose focus on the topic at hand causing you to stumble over your words.
A way to prevent background noises from ruining your conference call is through utilizing the mute function. You may either advise the attendees to mute themselves or choose a large conference call provider that has a feature that offers the capability to mute everyone aside from the speaker, as well as select participants, from an operator’s end. You can also reach out to your participants and instruct them to take the call in a quiet location before the meeting starts.
Even if a presenter is good, it won’t matter if the participants are unable to hear them properly. As a result, the purpose of the conference call is lost and the attendees are more likely to lose interest and are less likely to engage.
To prevent this, make sure to do a tech-check not only as a presenter but for each participant as well prior to the conference so you can detect and resolve any issues. Some conference call services offer operator-assistance that can do this for you. It will also help to advise the speaker to have headphones with a good quality mic to use in the conference call.
As mentioned, handling a large group of participants is a difficult task while making sure the conference call stays on track. This can be difficult to achieve if you have no means to prevent participants from talking over each other. The speaker’s train of thought and presentation flow may get disrupted if someone suddenly decides to ask a question while they’re in the middle of a presentation.
Similar to handling background noise, this can be prevented by muting attendees. It would also help to establish early on a strict agenda that would be followed during the meeting – for participants who might have questions regarding the discussion, it would be better to have a Q&A segment at the end to accommodate and answer all inquiries.
As a speaker, hearing echoes of your voice on a call is not only distracting but can also be discouraging when you’re in the moment. An echo can occur when two conference call attendees using two separate devices are in the same room or when your handphone does not have echo canceling features.
This matter can easily be solved by simply using one device to accommodate everyone in the same room. For individuals in various separate locations, make sure they use a receiver away from any type of speaker. It would also be very helpful to invest in phones with echo cancellation.
A host or an operator’s job is to make sure the conference call occurs smoothly and unnecessary disruptions can lead to a host or an operator to lose focus or be sidetracked. A good example would be forgetting to unmute someone when it’s their turn to speak. Not only will this inconvenience the speaker but it will confuse the other participants as well since they might miss some important details.
Make sure to stay attentive so that you do not forget who to unmute when it’s their turn to speak. If you are unable to multitask while hosting a call, it’s a good idea to request for operator-assistance in your conference where an expert conferencing operator can monitor the live call for you.