In today’s world of the telecommuter and virtual worker, conference calls are a constant, crucial form of business communication. While technology has given us the ability to make these conference calls more dynamic by connecting dozens of folks via video, the reality is that audio conferencing is the most affordable way to conduct a conference call and the preferred method for most businesses. Conference calls can quickly get off track and become unproductive if you don’t have the right technology in place and follow a few rules to help stay on track and remain productive. Here are four simple ways to ensure your next conference is more productive and crystal clear. Cost and time are key factors that make audio conferencing a preferred option for hosting effective meetings. A study by Verizonshowed that a five-person meeting conducted in person (average cost $5197.50) is over seven times more expensive than a meeting conducted by audio conference (average cost $689.24) and nearly three times as expensive as a video conference (average cost $1700.69). Considering the cost and time involved, it’s important for businesses to ensure that the conference calls they are holding are effective and productive—not just a waste of time. But for anyone who attends a conference call on a regular basis, we all know that this isn’t always how it goes. Unstable connections, garbled voices, too many participants talking at the same time and people popping in and out of the call are just some of the issues that can spoil a call. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard, “I can’t hear you …can you move closer to the speaker?” on a conference call I’d be a rich man! Here are a few tips to make your conference calls more productive and some technology to help keep it crystal clear:
1. Have an agenda and a facilitator. The easiest way for a conference call to get off track is by not having a clear-cut agenda and someone to facilitate the conversation.
2. Keep it short. Best-selling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin suggests that the maximum length of any call should be 10 minutes. Employees won’t have time to multitask in that short window, so you can expect their undivided attention.
3. Invite only those who need to be on the call. As a rule of thumb, you should limit the amount of people on a call to 4 or 5. The only people who should be on a conference call are those who you expect to speak. For instance, instead of inviting the entire sales and marketing team to a product launch call, invite just the team leaders or managers. All others who will be involved in the process can review the meeting notes after the call is complete. This eliminates chaos.
4. Eliminate background noise and distractions. Background noise and interference will make it impossible for those calling in to your conference call to effectively hear what is being said. Here is where having the right technology is essential and the right conference phone makes all the difference. One of the best systems for small business is the ErisStation™ from VTech. With four wireless DECT 6.0 microphones with Orbitlink Wireless Technology™, onsite participants can spread out and speak without having to raise their voices, no matter how large the meeting room is. Add in dynamic noise reduction (DNR), which automatically eliminates ambient noise (computer fans, ventilation systems, etc.) and your call will be crystal clear and free of background noise!
It’s time to say goodbye to garbled voices, background noise and unproductive calls! By employing smart tips and technology, you’ll put value back into your conference calls and save your small business lots of time and money.