13 tips for efficient teleconferencing

Conference calls (‘teleconferencing’) can be of immense value to your organization. There is probably no other way in which you can reduce costs while still ‘getting the job done’. You can interact with staff, business contacts and customers almost as if you are in the same room. No prior investment is necessary. Location is immaterial: you can hold a conference call from your own office using the landline, or from anywhere which has mobile phone reception.

Conference calls often encourage brevity. Meetings may be shorter but can of course be held more often. You can discuss project progress or sales figures on a weekly basis, or even more frequently should you wish. 

How do you set up a conference call? And how do you maintain an orderly discussion without people speaking out of turn or talking across each other? We think the following tips will help. 


Before the conference call 

  1. Planning is extremely important. The participants must be notified that there is to be a meeting (albeit a virtual one) in good time. They will need the telephone number they must call (the dial-in number) and the PIN code they must then enter. We have developed a handy plug-in which enables you to send invitations and all necessary information directly from Outlook or Lotus Notes.

  2. Ensure that everyone has access to a quiet area in which to take part in the conference call. A busy hotel bar or the reception area of an office building is unlikely to be suitable as there may be too much background noise.

  3. Include a brief summary of the meeting with the invitation. What is the agenda? What decisions will be made? How long is the conference call expected to take?

  4. If there is to be a presentation, or if you wish to discuss documents during the meeting, there is no need to send copies by email. That entails both extra work and security risks. There are web-based solutions which enable everyone to share the same document or view the presentation, while the meeting leader retains control throughout.

During the conference call

  1. Start on time.

  2. Allow the participants to introduce themselves. The leader may wish to activate a feature which ensures that all participants are announced as they join the call. Everyone then knows who is taking part.

  3. If several people are taking part in the conversation, always name the person to whom you are addressing a question. This will avoid confusion.

  4. Discourage interruptions and allow everyone the opportunity to speak in turn. Remember that the leader can switch off (mute) a participant’s microphone at any moment if this is what it takes to restore order.
  5. Inviting questions after every agenda point or discussion may increase efficiency. Everyone will feel that their contribution has been noted, which makes the meeting that much more productive.

  6. It may also be useful to conduct an evaluation at the end of the conference call. Participants can then suggest ways in which to make subsequent conference calls even more productive.

After the meeting

  1. The leader should close the meeting with a brief summary of the discussion and any decisions made.

  2. Make arrangements for the next meeting, at a time convenient for everyone.

  3. Send the minutes of the meeting to all participants as soon as possible.

These are just a few tips we wish to share with you based on our long experience. If you have any questions or require advice, please feel free to contact us. We’re here to help.