Make the most of conference calls

Make the most of conference calls

Businesses need to break free of the notion that all attendees should be on a conference call from start to finish

Simple adjustments can make conference calls more relevant and productive

Simple adjustments can make conference calls more relevant and productive

 

No one wants to sit through another boring conference call, especially when they have other work to do. The good news is that companies can make them more relevant and productive with a few simple adjustments.

1 Stop striving for inclusiveness

It has become too easy to send blanket, one-hour meeting invitations to 10 people when only five are relevant to the agenda. Businesses need to break free of the notion that all attendees should be on a conference call from start to finish. With a little upfront planning around which topics will be discussed at any given point in the meeting, managers can stagger invitations. If the marketing budget won’t be covered until the last half hour of a planning meeting, try inviting the marketing team to that 30-minute portion only.

2 Start using video

The idea that everyone in a meeting can watch what you are doing deters many workers, as does the dissonance between what we see in the mirror and what is reflected on our laptop or tablet screens. But as video becomes more pervasive in our personal lives, we will all have to get over this reluctance to adopt it in our business lives. Younger workers, with their penchant for selfies and inclination to social sharing, are also playing a large role in accelerating video’s acceptance among all members of the workforce.

3 Don’t abandon the physical conference room just yet

Most organisations’ physical office conference spaces look nothing like they did 20, even 10 years ago. They have evolved beyond a long table and phone to include white boards, projectors, flat panel screens, web cameras and surround sound. Participants may not use each accoutrement in every meeting, but the options for dynamic collaboration are there if they need them.

4 Understand technology use versus abuse

In other words, just because you can video conference from your iPhone before boarding a flight doesn’t mean you should. Organisations should dictate a new form of meeting technology etiquette, one that respects staff flexibility and their right to efficient, uninterrupted work time and collaboration. – Copyright Harvard Business Review 2015

Previously published in The Irish Times.

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