Which Conferencing Service Should I Use to Achieve My Meeting Purpose?
“Because of Bluetooth headsets, it’s getting more and more difficult to tell who’s schizophrenic and who’s on a conference call.”
Meetings are the lifeblood of our corporate arteries. These days we don’t even have to be there in person. Conference call services have evolved so that remote teams don’t have to physically be in the same space. It’s a lot more cost effective. You don’t have to fly teams across the nation or the globe to make decisions. No more forking out vast sums for accommodation and air tickets. You’ll also be decreasing your company’s carbon footprint with virtual meetings. You can choose to have audio, video or web conferencing to match your meeting purpose. Which option will you choose to fulfil your meeting agenda?
What is the purpose of the meeting?
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”
Why do you need to meet? And what is the best conference call service to use for the greatest success? Do you have to make a group decision? Brainstorm new ideas? Share internal communications info? Train new employees? Team build?
Let’s look at the best fit for your meeting purposes…
Need to Make a Decision?
“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”
Peter F. Drucker
Your goal is to get the team to reach a decision by the end of the call. They have to be pre-prepped with the right info otherwise the entire session could be about information gathering, not decision making.
• An audio conference is ideal if you know that all participants are up to speed and ready to cast their vote or give their two cents. The moderator can spend essential one-on-one time on audio conference calls with each attendee beforehand to make sure everyone is adequately prepared.
• A web conference could also be a perfect solution as it offers application sharing where attendees can view PowerPoint TM presentations, so everyone has the same information right in front of them.
• Choose to video conference when you need the group to make a sales related decision because you can read body language signals to pick up on reluctant, distant customers.
Sometimes the decision has in fact already been made, and the coming together for the conference call is to have a record of consensus on the decision. Your conference service provider will offer a recording option so you have proof of the approval decision.
Braving a Brainstorm
“Two heads are definitely better than one, and by brainstorming as a team and sourcing ideas from each other, you have a better chance of coming up with a strategy that will allow your business to overcome a setback or challenge.”
Best solution: Video Conference Call
“Brainstorming” favours a video conference call. You want to see all of the team as they bring their ideas into the “room”. It can be a feisty affair.
The video call’s audio can also be recorded in case there are any innovative ideas that get lost in the hullabaloo of creativity. Keep the meeting to 30 minutes, so it doesn’t go off on a tangent.
The moderator’s job is to include all team members and allow space for everyone to contribute. Before the virtual meeting, you can request one creative idea from everyone on the team to kick things off. It is important to follow up with actionable insights gleaned from the brainstorming session. You need to be able to turn all of the creative ideas into achievable goals for the team.
Need to Get Vital Info Across?
“Good Communication Is as Stimulating as Black Coffee, And Just as Hard to Sleep After.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Sharing info for internal communications and training usually means you’re in the educational zone.
Best solution: Video Conference Call.
The attendees would be given a talk by an industry leader or expert. It can take the form of a panel discussion or debate where attendees can get up to speed on pertinent issues. These speakers could be discussing information from within the company or be an outsider who is offering their expertise to assist with a new project. The moderator on the call acts as a link between the attendees and the guest speaker and facilitates a Q+A session after the talk.
Using the Active Mute feature for these kinds of meetings means that all attendees are muted by default. Only the speakers are unmuted so that you don’t hear any intrusive background sounds during the session. Of course, attendees can always turn the Mute off if they wish to contribute.
Ready for a Project Update?
• An audio conference call is perfect for a quick catch up for a daily or weekly update.
• If you need to show stats, graphs or other info, a web conference call, where you can use share screen or PowerPoint visuals, will be most beneficial for the team.
All conference calls should aim never to waste attendees time. You always want people on the call to be engaged, focused and never distracted. This means you have to stick to the agenda points.
Building Team Spirit
Your team might be sitting in different corners of the globe, but they can also benefit from team building initiatives. You could bring in a motivational speaker for the group or any engagement that contributes to creating a positive company culture. You want to foster a sense of unity between team members who might never share the same physical space but should operate from a strong shared “virtual” team spirit.
Video conferencing is the preferred method for team building sessions. You want to be able to see your team members and read all of their nonverbal signals that tell you more about each person’s personality. You want to get to “know” them better and for that you need to be able to see them. These conference calls can be more informal with a focus on a bit of fun.
Are You Up to Speed?
Successful meetings are those where the intended objective is met. These days your conference call providers offer scheduling and tracking, cloud recording, generating of reports, annotation of discussions, high definition video, white boarding, screen sharing, to name a few. You can bring up to 250 participants if you like depending on the purpose of the meeting. You have so many cool options!