Conference Call Tip from Sandy Grason on YouTube
Joining a conference call from a quiet, private, location is one of our top tips for insuring a great conference call experience for yourself and the other callers.
That's easier said than done when you're traveling. However, help is on the way.
And as Sandy says, go and manifest something magical in your life. A quiet setting for a conference call...while in Vegas...meets that definition.
Sandy, thanks for sharing the tip and the way to manifest a solution.
YouTube Video: How and where to NOT start a conference call
This YouTube video shows how and where to NOT join a conference call. Notice all the distractions; notice the lack of success. Watch it here.
We've pointed this out many times in the past: a quiet private setting increases the likelihood for a successful, productive, conference call for you and the other callers.
Or put another way: There's a ratio between the number of distractions in your setting for your conference call and the risk of its failure. It's a 2:1 ratio. The likelihood of your conference call being unproductive grows twice as fast as the number of distractions in your setting to join the conference call.
Best Practice: Complete Instructions for Your Guests
Make it easy for your guest to attend your conference call. Send them complete instructions. By complete, we mean complete. That's complete with:
Start Time with Time Zone
Length of Conference Call
Conference dial-in number
Whether that number is tollfree (Their call is free to them.) or toll (They pay for the cost of their call.)
The voice prompt they'll hear after they dial the above conference dial-in number
The code(s) they should enter at the voice prompt
What they will experience after entering their code. Some options for your guests' experience after they enter their code includes:
* Music-on-Hold: "You'll hear music until I join the conference call".
* Name Announcement on Entry with Public Playback: "You'll be prompted to say your name followed by the # sign on your telephone's keypad. Your name will be played to the group as you enter and depart the conference call". (A private playback option, heard only by the host, is also available.)
* Unrestricted: "You'll be able to talk with each other until the start of the conference call."
* Conference Lock: Once the conference call has started no further guests will be allowed to join the call. Should you need to leave during the conference call you will not be allowed to re-enter.
Length of Conference Call
At least 3 reminders: 1 week before, 1 day before, 1 hour before the start of the conference call. Why so many? People are busy. People forget. People are mobile.
Why so much detail? Again, people are busy. People have other priorities than ours. The more information you provide them gains more share of their attention, communicates the importance of the conference call, increases their confidence that it's a good use of their time and communicates you respect their time by providing all this information. It helps them help you make your conference call a success.
5 Golden Rules for Podcasting
Heidi Miller at her Talk It Up blog shares her Five Golden Rules of Podcasting. I'm going to list them here with a snippet on each point from her post. But she offers some great content with each of the Five Golden Rules of Podcasting, so be sure to click the article link here for that content.
1. Have something to say.
If you can't shut up about something, that would be the thing you should podcast about.
2. Don't "fill" time.
If your podcast is usually 20 minutes but you only have seven minutes of material this week, do a fabulous seven-minute podcast.
3. Speak in a real human voice.
Be real, be enthusiastic, be sarcastic, be annoyed, be honest. We'll like you for who you are. If we don't, you probably didn't want us to listen to you, anyway.
4. Audio is as audio does.
If your listeners complain about audio quality, you might want to look into a better mic or figure out how to do some basic noise reduction.
5. Make it social.
So start by listening to other podcasts in your field. Go listen to podcasts not in your field. Call in to the comment lines of your favorite podcasts. Respond on the podcast blogs or forums.
I'd add one thought to her Point 4. Audio is as audio does. The old rule of garbage in, garbage out applies here. If you have a poor connection, using a VOIP service with low bandwidth or slow processing speeds, a cellphone in rush hour traffic with your windows down (true story for one of our customers and their guest)...you'll create a poor quality listening experience for your customers. We suggest a landline connection. For the best at-home recording experience we suggest sitting in your car inyour garage with the windows rolled up. That's from Dave Evans at HearThis.
Granted, we have a vested interest in this suggestion with our podcast service offering. But we also suggest this based on consistent results over the past 3 years offering the service.
Heidi speaks truth with these points. The power of podcasting is the power of you, your voice, your message, your passion, your business, your company, your employees, your joy...because believe it or not, there are lots of people who share the same joys and there are lots of people who'd love to know they're not alone or who could benefit from learning from your experience. Hey, some of them could be customers or partners!
Be sure to check out our podcast service when you're ready to begin.
5 Tips to Help Reduce Tardy Attendees
Are you tired of guests straggling in 5-10-15 minutes after the start of your important conference call? They interrupt your presentation, waste the valuable time of your other guests and as a result lower your achievements?
Here's 5 kinder and gentler tips that have proven to reduce tary arrivals to our customers' conference calls. And we've added 2 tips, seemingly draconian in nature, for those with hard-to-reach attendees. These two tips will get their attention.
5 KINDER, GENTLER TIPS:
* Send Many Reminders.
Many reminders make prompt attendance. We encourage you to send at least 3 reminders to your audience. Start with a reminder one week before. Then follow that with a reminder the day before the event and then a reminder should be sent one hour before the start of the event.
We're all busy. Lots of distractions serve to interrupt and undermine our focus on what's important. Your reminders will help keep that focus where it should be: your important conference call.
We're all mobile. Yes, we all should synch our blackberry's, laptops, desktops, home and office computers and their respective calendars. The operative word is should. Multiple reminders help insure one will reach the guest regardless of their device du jour. It can't guarantee it. But it will increase the odds.
* Send Clear and Complete Instructions.
Send clear and complete instructions with each reminder.
Make sure these instructions include the conference dial-in number, the access codes the recipient should use and a description of what your guests will experience at each stage of joining your conference call, from using the conference dial-in number through any voice prompts they should hear (and why), whether they'll be greeted by an operator or music-on-hold until you arrive.
Send these clear and complete instructions with each reminder. Do it even if your audience is the same group meeting the same day of week at the same hour as they have been for the past 12 months.
The purpose is to make it easy for your guests to join the conference call, from wherever they are geographically or psychologically at the time of your call.
* Prepare and Include an Agenda.
This shows your conference call is important. It shows you're organized.
It helps your audience organize and prepare for your conference call. That makes it easy for them to see the value of attending and the importance of arriving on time to start.
* YOU Arrive on Time.
Nothing communicates the importance of prompt arrival for a conference call than the host arriving on time and being prepared. And for the host, arriving on time means arriving at least 5 minutes prior to the start of the conference call.
This is also a simple, effective means to communicate respect for your content and respect for your guests' time.
* Start On Time.
Don't wait for those stragglers. Don't empower them to derail your conference call. Don't reward them for their tardiness. Start your presentation on time.
Just as you did with arriving on time, this step of starting on time will communicate respect to your attendees. You know their time is important. You're starting on time.
* End on time.
This important step is often overlooked. Your attendees have interrupted their day to attend your conference call. Reward their attendance by ending it on time, or sooner if you've accomplished everything. This will encourage them to stay on future calls for the entire duration.
2 DRACONIAN TIPS.
Here are 2 tips that may appear draconian, harsh, for some. Some will appreciate their value given their audience's challenge with prompt arrival.
* Make them say their name when they arrive.
Use the name announcement-on-entry feature. That prompts each attendee to say their name before joining the conference call. This prompt is heard right after they enter their access codes.
You can decide to use either the public or private playback. The public playback lets everyone hear their name when they join the call. It's distracting; it interrupts. But there's nothing like peer pressure to change behavior. Private playback let's only you, the host, hear their names as they join the call.
The name announcements are also played in the same manner when they leave your conference call.
* Lock Your Conference Call.
You can lock your conference call once you start. That prevents any further guests from joining your conference call. And if a caller leaves the conference call while it's in progress, they won't be able to return.
This is an excellent security feature, as well.
We agree. These are harsh for most groups. Most will not need these last 2 features. The first set of tips should generate more prompt arrivals. But if not, these last two tips will help force the issue.
6 Free Features to Help Insure Your Conference Call is Confidential
The best security comes from the integrity of the guest who attend your conference call. However, at times you may be unpleasantly surprised or caused to have doubts about your attendees, or the topic is so important you want to quell your worries.
Here are some simple features you can use with your existing audio conference call service to bring the highest degree of security and confidentiality to your conference call. The first group of features are standard with our current audio conference call services and offered at no additional cost for our customers.
Entertain your guests when they join the conference call with music until you, as the host, arrive to begin the call. This is a simple feature that effectively insures your agenda is discussed in your presence and on your timeframe. You can initiate this feature with a quick call to Customer Service: 877-227-0611, ext. 3.
Change Your Access Codes Regularly.
Access codes too often end up in the wrong person's hands: a former employee, a competitor, the wrong employee, the press. The frequency this happens rises as the need for confidentiality also rises with your conference call.
How it happens is varied: an overheard conversation, a note on someone's desk, an email displayed on a monitor, conscious intent.
Just call Customer Service: 877-227-0611, ext. 3. Ask them to change your conference codes. They can do that in a few minutes. Don't bother worrying. Just change them.
Lock Your Conference Call.
Once everyone has arrived on your conference call...lock it. As host, just press *7 from your telephone keypad. That locks your conference call. No one else can join. (It's a great way to insure prompt arrival, too.)
Count Your Callers.
Press *8 if you're the host and used your host code to join your conference call. You'll hear the number of callers, including you, that are present on the conference call. So will everyone else, also.
That leaves the question: Who's on your conference call. We can answer that for you with the following feature.
Name Announcement on Entry.
Require your attendees to announce their name before they join your conference call. This feature inserts a prompt, immediately after they enter their guest code and before they join the conference call, directing the caller to say their name. Then their voice saying their name will be heard either by you, the host (private playback), or by the entire group ( public playback ).
This feature requires you to first contact Customer Service: 877-227-0611, ext. 3
Force-Quit the Conference Call.
Not every caller leaves at the end of a conference call. Some have been know to linger, by themselves or in groups, to carry on the conversation or start another. And it's done at your expense. Make sure your callers leave at the end of the call. Call customer service for the proper instructions to use with your service to make sure all callers present leave at the end of your call.
Here's the ultimate, high-touch, personalized approach to security. It includes all of the above and a personal operator to further insure security for your conference call. And it does cost a bit more.
Operator-Assisted Conference Calls.
We can arrange for one of our conference operators to manage your conference call following your guidelines. You can work with them to create a personalized greeting, as well insure they allow only the names from your list to join your conference call. They can even cross-match that list of names with that caller's caller-id to further help insure the identity given by the caller is correct.
Call Customer Service for rates and features: 877-227-0611, ext. 3
Again, security for a conference call begins with the integrity of your callers. These features can help minimize the impact from its lack. Call or email Customer Service for more details or to discuss further how you can help insure a confidential conference call:
877-227-0611, ext. 3,
Who just joined...your conference call?!?
Funny video from Dave Fleming highlighting a common experience in conference calls.
If your conference call is plagued by mystery callers joining your conference call then consider 2 features:
* Conference Lock. You can lock your conference call and prevent any more attendees from arriving. It's a great security feature. It's also a great feature to insure prompt attendance by your group.
* Name Announcement. You can require attendees to say their name prior to joining your conference call. Their name announcement will be played back either privately to you as the host, or publicly to the entire group. This too is a great security feature and a great feature to help insure prompt and full attendance.
Is THIS a participant on your conference call?
Do you ever wonder what your participants are doing during your conference call?
This YouTube video just may be a close approximation of what THEY'RE doing during YOUR conference call.
You can avoid losing sleep over this vision using some of these tips:
* Delivering the agenda for your conference call to each participant prior to your conference call;
* Reminding each participant of the conference call including date and time and call-in instructions the day before and the day of your conference call;
* Practice, be prepared, with your presentation.
* Ask for feedback from your participants.
* Subscribe to this blog for more tips on how to make your conference calls more productive, more useful and you a star as a result.
Video: Be Green. Make it a Conference Call, Not a Business Trip.
This video at YouTube makes the green point: conference calls save energy, lower greenhouse gases.
Oh, and they save money.
Oh, and your family loves having you at home at night.
So, help the planet, put money in your wallet, make your family happy....Make it a conference call, not a business trip.
Top 8 Tips for a Successful Conference Call
Here are the Top 8 Tips For a Successful Conference Call:
1) Set the time well in advance of the call. We’re all busy, our schedule’s are full. Set the time of your conference call far enough in advance to allow your audience to fit it in to their existing schedule.
2) Help them remember with your reminders. Help your audience remember by reminding them several times prior to the time of the call. We recommend reminders one-week, one-day and one-hour before the time of the call.
3) Use Clear and Thorough Instructions. With each reminder, use clear and thorough instructions to join the call. That includes the conference dial-in number, the conference codes, what to do with each, when to do it, and what they will experience at each step.
Oh, and the time of the call, in multiple time-zones is important, too!
We can provide examples of these instructions, personalized for your service features, that have been proven to work…if used correctly, and frequently, with even the most distracted list of recipients.
4) Know the features on your conference call and how to use them. There are many easy-to-use features that serve to enhance your reputation by creating a productive conference call for your attendees. Make sure you know how to use them prior to the call. If you’re not sure what are the features, ask us. We’ll work with you to insure you know them and their proper use.
5) Set an Agenda. The best way to make the best use of everyone’s time on the conference call is to send a prepared agenda prior to the start of the conference call. That helps everyone prepare in advance their expectations and possible participation.
6) Start on time. Nothing communicates disrespect like repeatedly failing to start a meeting on time. Nothing loses enthusiasm and participation like the failure to start a meeting on time. Set the right tone, right from the beginning with starting on time.
7) End on time. You had a great conference call. The presentation was flawless. The participation was enthusiastic. Now end the call on time. That helps insure the subsequent word-of-mouth for your call and YOU is positive.
8 Tips. Used together, they’ll help insure your calls are productive and you’re seen as the star.
8 Tips. Used together, they’ll help insure your calls are productive and you’re seen as the star.