Running Productive Conference Calls
By Deanna Utroske
Cosmetics and Personal Care Industry Thought Leader & Beauty Business Content Specialist
Running a productive meeting in person or via a conference call requires planning, intention and an array of communication skills. To zero in on the best practices for leading a successful conference call, I reached out to NYWICI member Rachel Bowie. In her role, Rachel leads regular in-person meetings that include a call-in option so members can, as an alternative, participate by phone. She explains, “My main goal is that everyone feels included, whether they’re at the table or on the phone.”
In preparation for each conference call meeting, Rachel starts by “putting together an agenda that we email in advance. That way, everyone is up to speed about everything that will be discussed, and what parts of the call are most relevant to them. I also try to connect ahead of time with anyone who is referenced on the agenda to make sure they feel prepared to speak to certain points, and that they don’t have any questions for me in advance.”
5 Best Practices For Leading A Productive Phone Meeting
Here are Rachel’s top five tips for conducting meetings:
- I do a roll call…to give people credit for dialing in. I want them to know that their voice is accounted for.
- When I take this roll call, I jot down the names of everyone on the line. I use that list as a reference throughout the call so that I can shout-out to specific people that I know (through previous conversations and prep) will have something valuable to add.
- At the end of each bullet point on the agenda, I always throw the conversation back to the people on the conference line to say, “Does anyone on the phone have anything they’d like to add?” Often times, with conference calls, it can be tough to know when to interject. My goal is to give everyone on the call a dedicated time to speak.
- At the end of each agenda item, I like to summarize the bullet points and next steps. I don’t want anyone to hang up the phone thinking, ‘Well, that was a waste of time,’ or, ‘What now?’
- We always follow-up after the call with a recap that reviews everything that was discussed. It’s handy in case anything that was mentioned was unclear, or came across a bit garbled over the phone.
A final bit of advice for those attending a conference call meeting, “This tip applies to people in person, or on the phone: Be respectful. Try your best not to cut anyone off, and make sure that everyone has a chance to share their opinion and respond.”