Conference calls are becoming a much more regular occurrence these days. Most of my executives participate in a conference call at least once a day if not more often. For assistants they can be a tricky thing to organise, so much can go wrong – people can call a different number, forget the pin or simply be let down by the conference calling technology. How do we make sure we organise a perfect conference call every time? Here are my top tips…

Scheduling the call

Select a suitable time and date for everyone involved. Firstly, think about your executive – when is the best time of day for them? Participants do have to concentrate on a conference call so think about the time of day when your manager seems particularly focused. Secondly, when can all of the other participant make the call? Do ask if they are in a different time zone to you.

Treat the conference call as you would a face-to-face meeting

Conference calls do actually take a little more time to organise than a usual face-to-face meeting but the basics should be the same. Ensure that the conference call has an agenda and make sure that all of the participants have the correct paperwork. During the conference call it can be a little disruptive if the participants cannot all see the same documents.

Send clear instructions

It is amazing how many people don’t quite follow conference call instructions! Make sure the instructions really are as simple as possible! Include all of the instructions in the meeting request. Also, make sure everyone is aware that it is a conference call not a face-to-face meeting. Lastly I make sure I have received a confirmation from all of the attendees so on the day of the call I know exactly who is dialing in and who is not.

Emergency plan

Every assistant should make sure they have a conference call emergency plan. Personally I give all of the attendees my mobile number and ask them to text me if they have any problems dialing in. I keep the emergency plan consistent. If I am not in the conference call I will still ask attendees to text me.

Conference call chairman

I think it is even more important to appoint a chairman for a conference call than it is a face-to-face meeting. So many people talk over each other during a conference call it can be difficult for participants to each get a turn to speak. A chair can really help with this. Assistants should ask their executive or the most senior person in the call. Again make sure the chair’s name is included in the conference call instructions.

Book a room

Do book a meeting room if the majority of participants are in the same location. Add the meeting room details to the conference call instructions.

Sound quality

It can be hard to control the sound quality of a conference call especially if participants are dialing in from their mobile phones. Try to make sure that the main conference call phone is located near to the meeting chair so they can at least be heard clearly. Otherwise, make sure background noise is kept to a minimum by asking everyone to mute their phones while others are talking.

ConferenceCall.co.uk

As an assistant I want a reliable conference call provider that is simple and easy to use. Conferencecall.co.uk is a great service which hosts conference calls for up to 50 participants. The instructions are ridiculously easy…

  • To start, enter your email address on the website to receive your free PIN.
  • You’ll receive your free PIN instantly to set up your conference call.
  • Share this PIN and our dial-in number +44(0) 844 545 2121 to the participants of your conference call.
  • At the agreed time, all participants dial in and enter your PIN to join the conference call!

There is just one phone number and one PIN so the chances of anyone getting confused are slim! There is a standard template for conference call instructions and the system also allows you to send a reminder SMS to participants 15 minutes prior to the call. Setting up an international conference call is as easy as a local conference call. Participants can be invited from all countries and in any many cases Conferencecall.co.uk offer local dial-in numbers.

How to organise the perfect conference call

This post is sponsored by Conferencecall.co.uk. Follow the link for more information about Practically Perfect PA’s sponsored posts.

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One comment

  • Mary March 21, 2014   Reply →

    A new trend we are working with are video conference calls. Many of the new services allow participants to log into a meeting from any desktop or mobile device. There is probably information that could be shared to prevent any embarrassing moments.

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