1. Plan to make your meetings shorter than they’d be if you were all seated around a table.
Why? Because voice conferencing with Meetupcall means people tend to demonstrate more resourcefulness and determination. You’ll be surprised how quickly any assessment or feedback session can be dealt with.
2. Don’t be tempted to make the agenda for your meeting rival Tolstoy’s War and Peace in length and scope – be concise.
Remember, it’s better to hold a series of short meetings over a few days than it is to tie everyone down to a three-hour epic session that, by the end, won’t involve much (if any) listening. And if nobody’s paying attention, what’s the point?
3. Listening will help you to pick up what your eyes cannot.
Don’t forget that your eyes are of limited value when you’re on a voice conference call. You can’t pick up on people’s body language, you can’t make eye contact, you can’t even spot if Mr. Jones in Hong Kong is wriggling with frustration in his chair, trying to speak but not getting a word in edgeways.
Use your ears all the time. Be prepared if you’re chairing the meeting to cut in every now and then, just to recap what’s gone before and to ask if there’s anyone who hasn’t spoken yet, who wants to.
4. First-time meetings are better in person if we can manage it, but we often can’t and need to compensate.
If everyone’s met before, allow a few moments when the call begins for people to greet each other. A little longer is needed to break the ice if newcomers are on the call, in which scenario the chairperson should briefly make introductions.
5. Before the meeting starts, a start and end time should be agreed upon.
Everyone is busy and knowing that a meeting is being held to a schedule that will be honoured allows for confident planning of the working day.
6. No interruptions!
Make sure other people in the office know that you are not to be disturbed during the conference call. If necessary, hang a sign on the door handle.
Ask everyone contributing to the call to make sure they’ve turned off their mobile phones and other electronic devices or put them into silent mode for the duration of the meeting.
7. Putting other people on hold can make you very unpopular, very quickly.
If your office telephony system has on-hold advertisements or background music from the less-than glory days of K-Tel, putting your phone on hold during a conference call will broadcast monophonic horror to everyone present at the meeting. In two words? Not. Good.
8. Call Waiting? Switch it off.
The reason you don’t want the call waiting facility to cut in while you’re on a voice conference call with Meetupcall is because everyone participating will hear the beeping. The only thing that could possibly be more annoying is a dripping tap (and we assume you won’t have one of those in your office).
9. Get your act together before the conference call begins.
You can’t be seen but you can be heard if you get into a panic over forgotten or mixed-up paperwork and references during a voice conference call. Preparation will prevent worry and avoid slip-ups. Have everything lined up, ready and waiting on the desk in front of you, before you initiate the call.
10. Take a deep breath, be confident and start saving money today!