2020 has shown us many things, one of those being that working from a traditional office space is necessary to get work done. As businesses were forced into a new work from home environment, many scrambled to adapt to virtual collaboration, balancing work and life from the same place, and meeting virtually instead of face to face.
This transition brought it owns set of challenges with things like zoom fatigue, spotty internet connections, and background distractions from spouses also working from home, and kids now home schooled.
A new feature published by Branded Bridge Line, a conferencing technology, states that 91% of people admit to daydreaming during meetings. Studies cited in the feature also note that 73% of people did other work during the meeting and a whopping 39% admitted to having fallen asleep in meetings.
While some companies immediately jumped to video conferencing to ensure people are present and paying attention, data shows 71% of people are uncomfortable using the video feature on conference calls, especially when in a large business environment.
The feature notes the data for conference calls favoring audio over video, but noting that with distractions and poorly run meetings, there is a major need in 2020 for best practices for hosting large audio conference calls.
These tips include:
- Create an agenda of discussion points and stick to it
- Provide local dial-in numbers without PINs for attendants to easily join meetings from wherever they are either by phone or internet call.
- Send out detailed instructions to join prior to the meeting starting, or better yet include those instructions in the meeting invite that is sent out ahead of time.
- Send out a reminder just before the meeting. Life happens to all of us, especially with the distractions that are a fact of life in 2020. A quick reminder the day of will ensure attendees don’t forget and everyone that is needed in the meeting, is actually present for it.
- Start the on time or have the host join a couple minutes before to get set up properly. The phrase, “if you’re on time, you’re late” sums up this tip perfectly. Attendees will begin joining at the top of the meeting start time, so hosts should be on and available just before to ensure proper set up and ensure attendees don’t join without the host.
- Make time in the beginning for introductions of hosts and speakers. Other stats from the feature show only 4% know everyone that is on the conference call, yet 71% of attendees feel it’s normal to discuss confidential business information on conference calls.
- Use the right tools for managing large audio conference calls. Some common tools for conference calls include muting all attendees, having a waiting room functionality to being able to remove users that are either there by mistake or causing noisy distractions.
- Keep comments brief and to the point. Hosts are urged to create a Q&A time slit for the meetings, rather than allowing attendees to disrupt with questions throughout the meeting.
- Record all meetings to allow for attendees to replay the meeting or for those who could not make the meeting, to listen on their own time and not miss the information shared during the call.
- End on time! This one was not mentioned in the feature, but important to respect attendees time and prevent people from dropping off to make other meetings and missing important information.
Read all the tips for large audio conference calls in the feature with more advice for managing the group and ensuring attendees are getting value from the meeting and being active participants where needed.
In 2020 so much of our work lives are online, but it goes beyond the workplace. Religious services, education, and communications with healthcare workers are also other areas where virtual calls are replacing face to face interaction.
For the foreseeable future, virtual is our reality and with these audio conferencing tips, meeting hosts and attendees will have more effective and efficient meetings to keep business moving forward.
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