Bestselling author Seth Godin wrote a nice blog post full of useful tips on the conference call: Conference call hygiene. Before reading the tips, maybe you should first check out this video.
Funny, but oh so familiar! For all those who have experienced pointless and painful conference calls, Seth reveals some general principles to keep the conference call 'clean'.
- If you have doubts about the usefulness of a conference call, then don’t have one.
- Nowadays, everyone knows exactly what time it is. Check in 10 seconds before the meeting starts. One minute late is too late.
- If you did not follow rule one, then follow this one: 10 minutes is the maximum length of a conference call. Over and out.
- If the meeting only lasts for 10 minutes, that's fine. You now have time for a break, to let the dog out, and to devote your undivided attention to your colleagues.
- If you're not planning on saying anything, then don’t attend. If necessary, you can listen to the recording later. Or better yet: ask for notes from the other participants, summarized in eight bullet points. In so doing, you will save yourself and other participants additional time.
- While we're on the topic, let’s talk about audio recordings: this is a very powerful communications tool if you would like to impart anything useful. Recording your message and sending it to colleagues can be extremely powerful. We're all for it. But don’t confuse this with a so-called meeting in which you alone speak, and everyone else is expected to listen in silence. That’s not a meeting, and by doing this, a conference call will detract from what you actually wanted to achieve.
Seth Godin concludes with a truism: if we produce things in a factory, we expect it to be consistent, rational, and done with forethought and economically. Many of us work in a system where we have to make decisions, have meetings, and sell ideas. It is only natural that we expect the same transparency and craftsmanship as in a factory. Even if that happens over the phone. Anyone want to set up a conference call about it?