How to start a conference call

The coronavirus lockdown has revealed many things about they ways in which we work, while some have seamlessly adapted to the work from home life, others are struggling to cope without the day-to-day interactions of office-life.

And given that we all have to hold meetings remotely now, it’s also thrown up the following question – Why do some people find starting a conference call so difficult?

It should like any other meeting or telephone call, a quick introduction before launching into the main topics up for discussion, but instead we have stilted greetings, multiple introductions and excruciating silences.

So if you’ve ever wondered how to start a conference call, the following set of dos and don’ts will help you out…

The dos and don’ts of starting a conference call

Do introduce yourself

Always introduce yourself fully before you speak on a conference call, and clearly state your name and role within the business.

This may sound a too formal and feel a little awkward, but you have to bear in mind you’re not dealing with people face-to-face and so there are no visual clues to help you or any of the other callers out.

A full introduction will instantly place you in the right context on the call.

Do set a clear agenda

No matter what the reason for the conference call, whether a catch up with colleagues or an end-of-quarter results round-up, it’s vital you set the agenda clearly early on and stick to it so everyone knows what’s required of them from the outset.

If you don’t set a clear agenda it’s easy to get sidetracked and the call can quickly get out of control. You should also make it clear there’ll be time for ‘any other business’ at the end of the call, so others know they’ll have a chance to raise any separate issues.

Don’t forget to introduce other key callers

When hosting a meeting you should always introduce the others speakers and key participants, and a conference call is no different.

So briefly introduce all other speakers at the start of the call – name, role and subject will do – and make sure they do the same before they speak, so all participants know exactly who is speaking and when.

Don’t overdo the introductions

Introductions are important on a conference call, but make sure you don’t overdo it – just a simple ‘name, role, and agenda item’ will do and there’s no need to go into a potted history of your time at the business or fun facts about yourself.

If you go on too long people will switch off before the call has even properly started, so keep things concise.

How to set up a conference call is the UK’s simplest teleconferencing service, and you can set up a conference call for up to 100 participants, from anywhere across the world, in three simple steps:

  1. Set up your conference call – Choose a date/time of your conference call.
  2. Invite your participants – Send all participants an invitation with your PIN, date/time and dial-in number(s).
  3. Start your conference call – At the agreed time, all participants dial in and enter your PIN to join your conference call!

Once you’ve started your conference call, you can use these in-call controls to keep things running smoothly.

  • # 1  – Private participant count
  • # 2  – Private Roll Call
  • # 3  – Lock/Unlock conference call
  • # 5  – Mute/Unmute all other lines
  • # 6  – Mute/Unmute own line
  • # 9  – Start/Stop recording

And you can now even conference call completely hands-free, thanks to our NFC-powered wallet card – find out more, here.

How do you kick off a conference call? Or have you any conference call horror stories? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook.

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