Conference calls are one of ways executives and employees gather to discuss business. Whether they're in the same city or scattered throughout the world, conference calls make it possible to bring everyone together in one room, in real time. There are several steps you can take to ensure a productive and informative conference.
Once you have established a time and date for your conference call, you must take the appropriate steps to prepare for the meeting. If you are the conference leader, complete an agenda for your conference call and distribute it to the attendees, well before the scheduled date. Your meeting agenda should include the date and time. It is a good idea to include the time zone in your agenda for the people who may be outside of your location. The agenda also should include the start and end time of the meeting and a brief description of each topic in order of priority along with the names of the individuals who are responsible and the proposed allotment time for each topic. If the conference requires any pre-meeting preparation, clearly list those requirements in the agenda.
Test your lines to ensure that you have an active and clear connection. If you are using a cordless phone, make sure the phone is fully charged before the meeting. Arrive at the conference at least five minutes in advance.
If you are an attendee, you will receive a conference number from your leader. Call the conference line. You will be prompted to enter your conference number. Once you have entered the number, you will be asked to say your name. Clearly state your first and last name. You may be required to press the pound (#) key. Once you have completed this process, the system will tell you that you are joining the conference and advise you of how many people are currently attending. If you have arrived before the leader, you will be placed in a holding mode until the leader arrives.
Listen before you speak. If the leader has arrived but not yet started the meeting, you may hear a subtle side conversation. In a pleasant voice, say hello and introduce yourself. Place your phone on mute until the meeting begins. If you do not have a mute button, use the muting features that are provided by the conference line.
When the meeting begins, your leader will take roll call. When the leader calls your name, acknowledge your presence in a clear and professional manner, such as "Yes, I am here" or "Hello. This is ... ." The leader may request that you briefly identify yourself to the other attendees. If so, state your name and give a 20- to 25-second overview of your job as it pertains to the call. Stay brief, speak clearly and remain professional.