Here are five tips:
1. Have an agenda - Create an agenda with clear start and end times, as well as time frames for each item. Make sure you all the right people at the table. If things are not working with agendas, switch them up.
2. Create interactivity every 5-7min: Part of the death by conference call mindset is shaped due to the monotony and length we need to stay focused. The human brain can only focus for about 8 minutes before it needs a change of pace. Creating a shift or change - hearing from another speaker, asking a question or switching a slide, can create greater levels of engagement.
3. Keep to time - Many meeting facilitators fail to keep an eye on the time. If facilitating the meeting and keeping an eye on the time is too much, assign the timekeeper role to someone else. You might also benefit by having an alarm at hand to prompt you for the next item.
4. Create a visual map - If you are only on a conference call bridgeline, it can be useful to provide a visual map of the callers.
5. Highlight agreements and next steps - Before the end of the call, or better yet as you go through, summarize and capture agreements and next steps. Don’t create duplication by having to revisit action steps, agreements and responsibilities. Soon after the meeting send out what was agreed to. Regularly revisit how effective your reporting structures are. Many times meeting management systems are duplicated or overly detailed. What is sufficient, yet detailed enough, for your purposes. Before the next meeting send out agreements and a summary so that you don’t need to spend half of the meeting recapping. Get people into the practice of checking in succinctly.
Potentials Realized - Leadership and Team Development, Coaching, Retreats
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
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