Have you ever been on a conference call and wished you were doing something else?
I know I have. More and more these days we are spending time in front of our computers and on calls working virtually. With this comes lots and lots of conference calls.You may even be leading conference calls and have people sitting on your call thinking the same thing that you do when you are on those lengthy dry conference calls.
So what is the best way to lead a call, make it engaging and highly productive all at the same time? I was googling this last week to search for better ways to keep people engaged and to encourage participation on conference calls and to my surprise I couldn’t find much. What I did find was tips like make sure your line is on mute, time your delivery so that you don’t run over and other uninspired tips of how to make your call the same old same old…
So with that being said I thought I would put a quick post together to provide a few of my tops tips to lead highly engaged conference calls with any team. Firstly open ended questions are a must and should be used constantly. Leaders of calls usually find this hard to do, why? because most leaders that are hosting the call have an end game in mind. They ask questions with the goal of providing direction or guidelines. I look at calls in a very different way. I approach them as a space to deliver guidelines and then ask the questions to facilitate thought around what we can do with the guidelines.
This is what gets everyones brains going and inspired to share, it also helps everyone on the call as its not a boring run of the mill conversation. To create this type of call there are ways to ask questions that can create an open brainstorming session where everyone participates.
So here is my top list of questions or comments that when practiced can become part of how you lead your team on what could have been a very boring call.
- What are your thoughts on……
- What is your strategy to implement this?
- Who has any ideas on how to make this work?
- What is your strategy to get people excited about….
- Who can add onto what….just said
- What are some of the best ways you have achieved …… with your team?
- What is a realistic timeframe for…..
- Does anyone have any additional thoughts on what ….just shared
- How can we make things better?
- What can we change to make things better? and how can we do it?
- How can we implement…or execute….on….
- What issues do we have?
- How would you share this message with your team?
Helping people stay engaged through a conference calls is a skill, keeping the conversation uplifted and engaged is about you as the facilitator creating open dialogue and this may mean that sometimes you don’t end the topic with your own recap unless you have not achieved the end goal that you wanted.
But most importantly is to help people feel there opinion is valued and active, you may not find great solutions when you constantly recap what everyone has shared as they will feel like there is no point.
Another great way to ensure everyone is engaged in your call is to ask at the end “who wants to recap the top take aways?” let people know that you will be calling on a different person every week this will surely keep them involved and listening.
I hope this helps you find better ways to connect with your team virtually, its not easy but with some practice you can get there!