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You probably don’t want to hear this, but the one thing that makes your direct reports roll their eyes and make teenager faces is…………your conference calls.
Let’s face it, the whirlwind of our job moves at warp speed and we all get caught up with the immediate need to share information, discuss directional changes, set the tempo, solicit input, gauge morale/reaction, and to push your organization. Conference calls are the first bullet we use because it is quick. But conference calls aren’t the most effective unless you follow these six rules and tips:
- Send an agenda with a clearly stated purpose and expectation for the outcome. A common mistake is to just send the topic. Your team won’t be prepared without the big three clearly defined.
- Send out reading material beforehand. If you ever find yourself “catching everyone up” you have wasted their time and squandered your effectiveness.
- Leaders need to be on time. Too many executives arrive late and everyone waits. That means you too! Call organizers should never be late!
- Insist on participant rules. Cell phones on vibrate, laptops off, background noises managed, and self-muting. The clacking keyboard of an attendee tells everyone that it’s OK to multi-task while you talk.
- Manage the pace. The first topic is always the time-eater. Everyone wants to be heard on the first topic. Stay in control and manage the timing.
- Avoid any ambiguity about the resolution and the action items from the call. Conference calls are about execution. Insist on next steps, personal accountability, and action.
Try these tips on your next call and really impress your direct reports!