As with anything, the more you use international conference calls, the better you become at hosting them. After all, practice makes perfect.
When you first sign up for an international conference call service, your first few teleconferences may feel awkward. You might stumble around at first or forget to take advantage of the options available to you such as noisy line muting, or operator assistance.
However, as you continue to use your international conference calling plan, it’ll become more natural. You’ll discover new tricks, you’ll start to experience the benefits, and soon, you’ll realize that you can use global teleconference calls for all kinds of purposes beyond your original need.
While practice makes perfect, a little coaching can get you even better results, faster. With that in mind, use the following tips to get even more out of your international conference calling plan:
Hold a Dress Rehearsal Conference Call
Just as professional theatrical productions hold dress rehearsals, so too can you. Gather a few assistants and do a trial run of your international conference call a day or two the scheduled event. Have each assistant dial in from remote locations so that you are not in the same room. This simulates the environment and forces you to use your online dashboard tools to manage the call or see who’s currently connected.
Ask each assistant to take notes about the call while you practice your part. Don’t overly instruct them, just let them record their thoughts. These insights could range from audio levels and sound quality to comments about areas of the discussion that were unclear or could benefit from additional details.
Not only can holding a dress rehearsal allow you to practice your presentation, it can alert you to technical issues that need to be corrected before the call. In addition, you’ll become more familiar with the various tasks you’ll be responsible for as the moderator of the call.
Take a Team Approach
Holding an international conference call requires work on your part, but it’s not necessarily work you have to do all by yourself. Enlist the help of an assistant before and during the call.
For example, if you will be presenting during the bulk of the conference call, having an assistant on hand is important should any of your callers have difficulty connecting to the global teleconference or hearing you. Instead of having to stop your presentation in order to help the caller, you can continue presenting while your assistant helps the caller. Many international conference calling service providers include free operator assistance, making your job even easier.
Create a Lessons Learned Document
After each international conference call, take some time to reflect on it – and write down your thoughts in a lessons learned document. This can help you to improve your next international conference call by anticipating and preventing similar problems from occurring.
Consider your lessons learned document a living, evolving document and visit it often. Don’t just write your lessons learned and ignore them. Re-read them before each conference call and add to them afterwards.
After about five international conference calls, revisit your lessons learned document and summarize the key points. Post these prominently on your desk before your next conference call as a reminder.
Remember, your lessons learned will be different than anyone else’s. It doesn’t matter what they are; the important thing is to be aware of them and keep improving. For example, if you’ve determined that you are hard to understand because you talk too fast, one of your lessons learned may be summarized as “speak slowly.” Awareness plus a concentrated effort to talk more slowly will invariably lead to better conference calls in the future.
Listen to an International Conference Call Recording
Record your teleconferences and then go back and listen to them. Hearing yourself speak is a great exercise, and you may be surprised at how well you did. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you stumbled on a few words or forgot to mention a key point. Give yourself constructive criticism, just as you would give to a colleague, and choose one or two points to work on improving for next time.
Use End-of-Call Surveys
Use surveys after each international conference call to get feedback from participants. Participants will have a different perspective and may have valuable insights that wouldn’t occur to you otherwise. There are a variety of third party survey tools you could use to get instant feedback after the call.
Because feedback is so important, make it easy for participants to provide it. Online surveys are generally easier than surveys that must be printed out, filled out, scanned, and emailed. Keep your surveys short, too, and let participants know about how long it will take to complete your survey.
Keep Hosting International Conference Calls
The more you hold them, the easier they become. Practice really does make perfect!