Conference Call Savvy: 16 must know tips

How good are your conference call skills? How do you keep the group’s attention, make your points powerfully and persuasively and still keep the call short? Check these ideas:

  1. Designate a call leader/group facilitator.
  2. Create an agenda if you’re the leader. Ask for an agenda if you aren’t.
  3. Be prepared. Know what points you want to make.
  4. Announce yourself immediately. Don’t lurk.
  5. Pre-sell your ideas. If you need allies, call them before the call. 
  6. Say your name before speaking. Speak to a point only when you know who made the point.
  7. If you don’t recognize the voice and if they weren’t courteous enough to say their name, clarify, or stay quiet.
  8. If you know you need to leave the call early, ask the leader to announce it 5 minutes before you have to leave. 
  9. Don’t make apologies and waste time if you need to leave the call early. Just go. 
  10. Make your points quickly and only once.
  11. Let people finish their sentences.
  12. Use the words yes and to move to another thought. 
  13. Keep control. If someone asks a question off topic, ask to discuss it at the end of the call.
  14. If you multi-task, don’t let them hear you or your other activity. That’s what the mute key is for.
  15. If you need a break, announce that you’ll be back in 5 minutes. Don’t gamble that no one will want your input while you’re in the bathroom. 
  16. Ask the leader to send a follow-up email with action items and next steps. 

And as someone once said, “don’t make me reach through this phone and slap you.” 

3 replies
  1. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    If you are the leader you should be on the call first. You should great people and make them feel welcome.

    “Hello! Welcome to the ______ call. May I ask who just joined us?”

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people are late to their own calls. They usually apologize by saying that they were one another, important, call. All this means is that everyone on this call is just not important.

    If you are going to review documents then share them via a Web conferencing tool. It is horrible to have each person attempting to follow in their own copy of the document.

  2. speakersue
    speakersue says:

    Great advice, Jeff. Thank you! One other idea: If the call must start at a certain time, let people know how long until the call officially starts: Please stand by. We’ll start in 90 seconds.


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