In conference calls as in life, if something can go wrong, it probably will go wrong. But at least, there are plenty of things you can do to minimise the risk of problems, or to put them right quickly when they arise.
Reading this short PGiConnect guide to troubleshooting conference calls is one easy step you can take. And of course, choosing PGiConnect as your services provider is another. Because when you choose to use the people who are best at what they do, you’ll get the best results for what you do, every time.
Or in other words, with PGiConnect, troubleshooting your audio conferences will be easier, because our tech and our call services will make sure there’s much less trouble to shoot in the first place.
How to conference call effectively
So let’s assume you’re using our tech to get you off to a good start with your conference. In which case not many, if any, of your troubles will be down to the tech itself or even to the tech/human interface, but simply to a lack of knowledge amongst participants.
As for a traditional face-to-face meeting, if you are the organiser you will of course have sent out invitations with the correct details of date, time and place (in this case: on the phone). This will have included the correct number to dial and the PIN for access. You will also have circulated an agenda to all participants. So there’s really no excuse for anyone not arriving fully briefed, fully prepared, and on time.
Three tips for better sound quality in conference calls
Before your meeting gets underway, it’s a good idea to troubleshoot any audio problems. The top tips to ensure better sound are:
1) If you’re dialling in by mobile make sure you use the short code provided. We’d recommend using a landline if possible when connecting to your call.
2) Make sure you have a strong and steady internet connection.
3) Avoid using the speakerphone function. Otherwise you will be hard to hear and you will find it harder to hear the other participants.
The organiser or chairperson should also point out that it’s conference calling etiquette and best practice for everyone who isn’t actually speaking to use their mute function (press #6 with PGiConnect).
Dealing with latecomers
Despite the invitation and the clear start time, someone might still arrive late. If this happens, you can minimise the interruption by quickly introducing them and updating them on which point on the agenda you’ve reached, then telling them they can catch up later via the Minutes or the recording. (We’re assuming you’re using the PGiConnect recording function – press #8 – to record and store the whole call.)
From here on in, troubleshooting audio conferences is just like troubleshooting face-to-face meetings, because the issues are the same.
How to keep control
You have an agenda, and the chairperson needs to ensure the discussion sticks to it – just as they would in a physical meeting. Discussion not only needs to be on topic, but also carefully controlled so that everyone can be heard. Around a meeting table, it’s easier to tell when one person is about to finish speaking, or to identify who wants to speak next, or when someone wants to interrupt. When you can’t see the other participants it’s not so easy, so the chairperson must give everyone an equal opportunity to contribute, and allow them to do so without interruption.
Now your call should go smoothly and reach the end of its agenda with objectives achieved and clear action points defined. Then it’s time for the chairperson to summarise what’s been said, to thank and say goodbye to each participant individually, and then to hang-up. As soon as possible afterwards, Minutes or summary notes of the meeting should be circulated.
Not just all talk
A conference call has many advantages when it comes to getting business done. From eliminating unnecessary journeys, to ensuring the most efficient use of invitees’ time, to helping to maintain a focus on the business in hand without the distractions of a face-to-face meeting, a conference call is a highly productive way to do business.
And when you follow the tips outlined above, you can ensure that all your audio conferences successfully and effectively turn meaningful talk into worthwhile action.