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August 7, 2012
Making Your Teleconferencing More Effective
 
With the Internet and technological advances, it’s becoming easier and easier to do business with people outside of the four walls you sit in every day. However, as business opportunities expand, so does the need for proper communication. Keeping everyone on the same page is integral to maintaining a successful working relationship.

Teleconferencing
is a great way to keep a steady flow of communication between everyone involved without investing in the expensive equipment needed for video conferencing. However, without being face to face, it’s critical that you make the most of these meetings by ensuring that they are effective in every way.

Write an Agenda
You wrote a plan for your business and set goals for employees, so it makes sense that you have a strategy for your phone meetings as well. Though it may seem trivial, phone calls leave much room for distraction and side conversations. Thus, preparing and sharing an agenda, whether general or specific, will make your meeting more effective in a number of ways.
  • Help others prepare. With a pre-made agenda, you can allow others to prepare questions, concerns, and important points as well. Email it out beforehand to get everyone on the same page and prepared.
  • Cover your bases. Not only will this ensure that you cover each and every topic but it will get you back on track if side conversations start happening.
Share the Call
There’s no I in team, and no I in teleconference. Your company is built upon the ideas of yourself and the people who got you where you are today. So, while you may be the person dialing and running the meeting, others have important things to say as well. In order to make the most of your teleconference you want to give everyone a chance to speak.
  • Elicit questions. After each main topic of conversation, invite questions or final thoughts. Though someone may not speak up on their own accord, they may take your invitation to do so.
  • Select meeting leaders. Instead of hosting the entire conversation, allow people on either side of the phone call to head up topics. Allowing the head of marketing to lead the marketing discussion will be more effective and beneficial to everyone.
  • Include introductions. Though it may be easy to recognize faces, voices are harder. Be sure that everyone speaking is introducing themselves so questions can be directed to the right people.
Enhance the Phone Call
Although teleconferencing is a valuable tool that will benefit your out-of-the-office business, meeting through a telephone leaves much to be desired; everyone looking at a different screen and battling a host of distractions. While you may not have the budget to invest in a full-on video conference system, there are other enhancements that will make your meetings more efficient.
  • Document sharing. Utilizing document sharing software on a day-to-day basis will be beneficial during a teleconference. When everyone has access to necessary documents, all attendees can speak on them accurately. Be sure to include important documents in your pre-meeting agenda so everyone can have them queued up.
  • Desktop sharing. Many teleconference companies offer a desktop-sharing option. This allows others on the call to see your desktop and the documents, images, or other files you pull up.
As technology advances, so does your business and the connections it can make. Teleconferencing is a valuable tool for your growing business, but it may not be effective on its own. By modifying the process and adding other aspects into the mix, you can make the most of each call for a more effective meeting. 

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Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics from social media to merchant services. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including background checks for lead generation resource Resource Nation.
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