Just how much time do we waste on conference calls? Five minutes? Ten minutes? More? Truth is business people waste an average of 15 minutes per conference call. This involves struggling to get the meeting started, overcoming technological problems, and of course dealing with unnecessary distractions throughout the call which happens more often than not. Those 15 minutes may not seem much but if it happens in every conference call, then it can snowball into a bigger problem. According to a recent report, wasted time in conference calls costs businesses in the US and UK over $34 billion or £26 billion.
Large conference calls are convenient, but if you can’t kick out bad practices and can’t seem to handle a large group of people, then you will not only lose time but also money.
First and foremost, you need to make your objectives clear. Distractions can arise if participants are clueless about the topic of the meeting and are ultimately unprepared. Send out an email in advance telling the conference call members the agenda, concerns, and more. This can help everyone prepare and give them an idea of what to expect and/or what to present in the time of the call.
We always say being on time is important—and it is!—but this will not be enough. You need to be on time and allot time for the meeting to get started. Say you want the meeting to start at 9 AM, instead of telling people that, tell them you’ll start at 8:45 AM. The 15 minutes will be enough time to set up the call, get everyone on the line, fix technical problems if there are some, and have notes and laptops ready. With this, you get to save time by ensuring that everything and everyone is fine and ready to go and that there will be no further distractions.
Conducting a large conference call also means you won’t be able to keep up with the people joining in the call. Five to ten members might be okay, but this is a large conference call, which means there may be hundreds or even thousands. Every time a new person joins or someone speaks up, “Who just joined?” or “Who’s speaking” will definitely be repeated more times than necessary.
To avoid wasting time on these, have all members fill out a registration page before the conference call. If you’re using a conference call provider, then it is likely that each invitee or registrant would have their unique passkey linked to their name, which makes it easy to identify when you get a call summary report detailing everyone who dialed in.
It’s also important that you steer towards an action plan. Conference calls aren’t just for aimless discussions. Make sure at the end of the call, you have an action plan to implement—steps and decisions that all key stakeholders have put forward as you go through your agenda. You also have to make sure that these decisions are clear to everyone and they know their individual responsibility after the conference call.
If you’re looking for an all-in, foolproof way to avoid wasting time on conference calls, look for a large conference call service who can manage your call before, during, and after the fact. A good large conference call provider can make sure your conference calls go as smooth as possible. Plus, having experienced operators is definitely a great way to combat the struggle of getting started and encountering technical difficulties. They can take care of various parts of the call such as registration, participant count, host pins and passkeys, and more. Some also have extra features that will make your conference call professional and more effective. If you know how to maximize these large conference call features, then you will not have wasted your time on another unproductive conference call.
Avoid unnecessary costs by following these tips on how to host better and more productive large conference calls.