Conference Call Tips – Keep them engaged!

I have been on some great and not so great calls in my worklife and have really tried to figure out the best way to facilitate a good conference call with all the budget restrictions for face to face and time restrictions due to the busy schedules of everyone. A friend recently asked me for some tips as she has really enjoyed being on my calls and I thought I would share them with you in case there is a chance to share this more broadly.

Let me know your thoughts or any other ide


Nancy’s Tips for a Successful Conference Call

1. Prep is important – contact people ahead of time to ask them to say a few words on something that has happened in their area. division or company
Any updates or action items can be listed on the prep email that you can go over on the call to emphasize in the beginning

2. Use Webex if possible – keeps those multi tasker type people involved and using 2 senses helps keep them focused on you as much as possible. Webex allows you to get everyone on the “same page” as you – whether it is your content in a powerpoint or showing useful websites or walkthrough to navigate them to sites they need to know about.

3. Welcome everyone by name with a personal touch
Write those names down for reference during the call
After every agenda item be sure to call on one of those names
referencing a conversation you have had with them
ask them a question how it relates to their area

4. Always “mix” up the voices
Ask for others to speak on their expertise (great recognition)
Ask someone else to facilitate and introduce you as the expert (if appropriate)

5. Save sharing for last – don’t take too may interuptions or questions and ask that they save it to the end and you get the pertinent info covered. And they all like that part of the call to “brag” so save the best for last and they attend to the end!

6. Always say thank you for attendance (in the beginning and the end) – with the mention of how valuable everyone’s time is (staff and volunteer) – it will make a difference!

7. Get the notes out as soon as possible – highlight the action and key takeaways

8. Save the Date! – for the next call and or series of calls with a call for agenda items if necessary

Additions from my friend Lissa –

1. Build an agenda, share it 24 hours in advanc, & stick to it.

2. Introduce the salient points of the call, go through the “presentation” of each topic, then solicit opinions, feedback, discussion, or questions as relevant *specifically about that topic* before moving to the next one. Do not allow your call to be hijacked by a question irrelevant to the topic at hand; my stock response is, “that’s a great point but let’s hold it until the end of the call; I’ll stay on a few minutes late to address it with you.”

3. Tag team: have one person as the presenter and one person as the note-taker. Ensure that the note-taker provides the recap of each topic and closes the call; allows for a reiteration of the main points and immediate clarification as necessary. (Especially helpful, as hearing two views on a topic boosts memory.)

4. DO NOT waste people’s time; start and end on time.

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Nancy Cook 2021

About Nancy

Nancy Peck Cook is a trainer and speaker who has presented in front of large and small audiences for the past 25 years.  Her work as an executive and volunteer trainer for the American Cancer Society during the growth of the signature activity Relay For Life trained professionals to be more confident and successful in their roles. 

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