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Conference calls are an essential part to any business person’s day. It’s important to connect with others to talk about business plans, share ideas and information, brainstorm, and more. However, a shocking survey reveals that during conference calls, 65% of people do other work, 63% send emails, 44% text, 25% play video games, and 21% shop online. So, how do you beat the odds and make your conference calls more effective? Access One provides you with these 3 tips to master your conference calls and increase engagement in your meetings.

1. Set a leader for the call

It is important to have someone responsible for leading the conference call. The leader ensures that the items at hand are discussed and resolved. Without a leader, the meeting could end up with nothing accomplished and therefore waste important time. Someone needs to lead the team to a decision of each item on the agenda throughout the duration of the meeting. Not only does the leader keep the conversation on track, but he or she will also make introductions. They will help keep others engaged by connecting people on the call with each other and into the conversation.

2. Be friendly, but stay professional

It is important to be friendly and even create fun engagement on the conference call. Make the other participants feel welcomed. One of the best ways to maintain engagement is to encourage small talk throughout the call, especially in the beginning. Here’s a list of go-to ice breaker topics to start your meeting off right:

  • Current events
  • Sports
  • Weather
  • Family

Talking off topic is fine, just make sure to reel the conversation in when necessary so that everyone else in the meeting can participate and have an overall productive meeting.

3. Ask questions

During a conference call, it is easy for people to tune out the monologue. If you talk without asking questions, the other participants will soon put you on airplane mode. A great way to spark engagement and keep the meeting flowing is to ask questions. Additionally, ask specific individuals certain questions. This will prevent a sudden influx of multiple responses from several people at the same time. It will also prepare other participants to be ready if a question is directed at them as well. This tip alone could produce very positive results in your conference calls and in your team’s overall engagement as a whole. With these three tips, you’ll soon be a master at running effective conference calls. Your call leader sets the pace for the entire discussion and makes sure everybody stays on track to accomplish your goals. Engaging in small talk and asking questions starts your call off on the right foot and sets the tone for the entire meeting, letting you have productive discussions on your agenda with everybody interested and involved. Don’t be afraid to derail slightly as your call progresses, but make sure your call leader is ready to reel the conversation back in when it’s time to move on. Before you know it, you’ll see productivity on the rise and greater results from your conference calls.