The Wall Street Journal had an interesting piece on Surviving a Conference Call that covers the bad habits anyone who has attended a conference call has exhibited from time to time and suggests means to escape them. Sue Shellenbarger, the author, recommends the following to improve the productivity of these meetings.
- Establish a clear and explicit set of goals and agenda for the meeting. “’You need to script them more tightly’ to keep people’s attention from wandering, says Daniel Mittleman, an associate professor in computing and digital media at DePaul University.”
- Build relationships. When attendees introduce themselves, have them explain their roles and what they want out of the meeting.
- Conference leaders should prepare in advance questions to ask participants and use a form to record responses.
- Conference leaders should make sure everyone is contributing and have not “checked out” by posing questions, especially to those people who are not actively participating.
- A volunteer/moderator can be charged with keeping people on-topic and sticking to time limits.
The author also speaks about the future of video conferencing and the challenges associated with it. And before leaving, if you go and read the actual Wall Street Journal article, here’s the YouTube video it references. Enjoy.