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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.


* 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.


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.

January 28, 2008 in Conference Calling Tips | Permalink


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