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How to Make Conference Calls More Interactive

by Olufisayo
Conference Calls

Teleconferencing is fast becoming the norm in today’s business world but it shouldn’t be any more demanding than a regular business meeting. Participants sometimes can get bored, disengaged, or distracted for a number of reasons e.g. the ability to clearly hear everyone throughout the meeting.

So many factors that can affect the smooth running of virtual meetings. Is the facilitator signaling the right cues when handing over a conversation? Are the attendees well prepared for the conference call? The convener must ensure that every angle is covered to avoid falling into a disaster. Since different rules apply to virtual meetings, here are a few tips to make every conference call interactive.

1.    Start With a Fun Icebreaker

Knowing that the first few minutes into meetings can be awkward, fun icebreakers get everyone’s attention, create a fun atmosphere, and raise energy levels. The positive atmosphere creates a team bonding environment. Creative warm-ups also help prepare the mind for innovative thinking and ease the tension allowing everyone to contribute their ideas freely.

For instance, the facilitator can ask participants to introduce themselves. They can start by saying their names, where they come from, and what hobbies they like. These and such other good-to-know-you questions can open up the meeting to freer conversations. It is a great moment for the participants to know what they have in common. Setting up engagement rules can also make things easier.

2.    Invite People Who Need to Be There

Conference calls should only include those who need to participate in helping run a productive meeting. Inviting participants who don’t really know why they are part of the conference call would make certain they are distractive or keep silent throughout the whole discussion, which is counterproductive.

They may also bring distraction to the meeting by creating distracting background noise. Every attendee can be made liable for a scheduled item or at least know why they’re in the meeting and what is expected of them. The convener can do this by communicating the meeting’s agenda before.

3.    Assign Meeting Roles

A successful phone conference needs to have established roles to run smoothly. Among the roles a convener needs to assign is technical support. As the meeting proceeds, sometimes there can be technical hitches that can render the meeting a disaster. The facilitator should have an easier time since that part is already covered.

Based on the number of attendees, it is important to have a community manager. This is the person responsible for answering any questions, distributing content, or managing polls. This can be achieved by having a live chat feature during the phone conference. The community manager also gauges people’s interests to help keep them engaged throughout the virtual meeting.

4.    Speak Like You Are Having an in Person Meeting

Having a phone conference does not mean that the facilitator should forget how they make presentations. The style should be just as if the person was standing in front of them in a boardroom. When the presenter’s energy goes down, the rest also feel it, thus lowering their concentration.

Having some humorous moments within the meeting influences engagement and concentration. Asking direct questions within the phone conference also helps increase engagement and focus. Sending direct questions such as when a report can be done will stimulate response and deeper conversations. Find the best conference call service to fit your needs and help your meetings run smoother.

5.    Give Everyone a Chance to Contribute

Speaking for a long time without giving others the chance to contribute makes meetings boring. Collaboration becomes hard since the other attendees are disengaged. The presenter can throw in a no-brainer question just to get their attention. They can also use props or physical items when making the presentations to improve focus.

The convener can as well use a co-facilitator to help change the tone and enhance engagement. If the meeting is not between many people, the facilitator can call out people by name. They can also split a large group into smaller ones to raise the level of engagement. Asking the attendees to do simple stretches is also an effective method of keeping them involved.

Keep Your Team Engaged

To convene an online meeting requires that the facilitator plans ahead of time and keeps things simple for it to be productive. The stronger the team’s relationship, the easier for them to work together. Keeping people engaged in a phone conference is not hard but, without structure, the meeting can be a waste of time. Following these tips can dramatically change the mood and bring in more engagement and focus.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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