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Book Description - ISBN 978-1-62620-997-8 (34 Pages)
Conference calls are one of the most often cited pet hates of employees. Even though the technical problems associated with them are becoming less common, many employees find their motivation to participate and provide ideas are shut down by the impersonal and difficult to coordinate nature of these calls. This free eBook explains how to overcome the problems associated with conference calls.

Chapter 1 - What are conference calls?
Through the use of Conference Calls organizations have been able to short-circuit decision-making and reduce the non-productive traveling time and costs that it previously experienced. These benefits have also been passed onto other organizations such as those of your customers, suppliers and partners, reducing everyone's costs.

Chapter 2 - When are conference calls used?
Conference calls are typically used for: progress meetings, project updates, gaining approval for decisions, strategy reviews, training and internal communications.

Chapter 3 - What are the technical issues affecting conference calls?
Whilst the technical issues are less common than in the past, you still need to be aware of certain issues of a technical nature that can impact the effectiveness of your conference calls.

Chapter 4 - What are the human factor issues affecting conference calls?
The other aspect that impacts the effectiveness of conference calls is the human element. This mainly relates to how you behave and your attitude during the call.

Chapter 5 - How conference calls can affect your productivity?
Whilst conference calls have undoubtedly brought substantial benefits to organizations by making personnel more productive and saving considerable sums previously spent on travel, they are not perfect as they can have a serious impact on an individual's productivity.

Chapter 6 - Why you may need to adapt your communication style?
Conference calls are one of the most often cited pet hates of employees who find that their motivation to participate and provide ideas are shut down by the impersonal and difficult to coordinate nature of the medium.

Chapter 7 - Why conference calls benefit from advance planning?
You can make your conference calls more effective by taking a constructive approach to how you plan for your calls and how you conduct yourself and interact with others.

Chapter 8 - How should conference calls be facilitated?
Your expertise as a facilitator and chair will have a profound effect on the outcome of you conference call. There are several tasks you have to perform to ensure your call is a success including: starting on time, making introductions, stating the objective of the call and making sure that the call follows the agenda.

Chapter 9 - What is conference call etiquette?
In order to overcome these limitations, every organization that uses conference calling should have a set of published guidelines that cover both the technical aspects and the accepted etiquette of conference calls.

You will learn:
  • Why conference calls present problems that normal telephone calls do not.
  • What advance planning you can undertake to get the most out of each call.
  • Why published guidelines can dramatically improve everyone's experience of conference calls.
  • Why each call needs a simple agenda and what information it should contain.
  • The advantages of having a named facilitator with clearly defined responsibilities.

Today's Top Picks for Our Readers:
Recommended by Recommended by NetLine

Explains Everything You Need to Know About Conference Calls
I have a colleague that is new to the company that has never had to take part in a conference call. She asked for my help to guide her through her first conference call. I have experience with conference calls since I do them frequently but I was unsure the best way to explain it, so I referred her to this book. This is a must read for anyone who is about to take on their first conference call. Like anything else, there are dos and don'ts. This book does a great job of explaining everything that you need to know in order to have an effective call. It gave me the resources and some great ideas that have really changed my experience with conference calls.

This book covers everything from beginning to end such as, the planning that takes place prior to the call, proper etiquette, enhancing your speaking and listening skills, and how to conduct the call itself. This book should be the go to book for anyone who is new to conference calling, anyone who is experienced with conference calls, and anyone who participates in them. I really like the way that this book covers every aspect of a conference call. I have recommended it before and will continue to refer people to this book in the future.
Debbie Johnson

Some Good Ideas About Controlling the Human Factors
I'm not sure that anyone actually likes conference calls - I know I don't. Sure they can save time and keep people from having to travel to physically meet one another, but they often are more hassle than they are worth. People talk over others far more than they would face to face, and I sometimes wonder how much attention people are paying who aren't actively speaking. As a manager, there is nothing quite as productive as a meeting where all of the individuals are physically in the same room.

However, I've accepted conference calls as a reality that I need to deal with. Because of that, I wanted to read this eBook on conference calls to see if I could learn anything that would help me conduct better calls in the future. If I could iron out some of the kinks, I figured, I would maybe start to get more out of the time spent on these calls. After reading the book, I feel like there was some very valuable information to be had - eventually.

My complaint with this book lies in the first handful of pages. The book starts out by covering what conference calls can do for you and what kinds of conference calls are possible. This information could be useful to some people, but I already know why I use conference calls. The idea of what a conference call could be good for wasn't really helpful to me - I was looking for how to hold a better conference call.

Fortunately, the later pages of this book nicely address the issues that I was more concerned with. The middle pages of the book talk about the various conference call pitfalls that so many of us are familiar with. It is nice to have a list of these pet peeves so I can create an internal document highlighting the proper conference call etiquette.

My favorite portion of this book was the section that detailed how to control the human factor of the meeting. This is always my biggest concern during a conference call - that those on the other end are paying attention to anything else but the meeting that we are having. I like the process that the book recommend for countering this problem, and I feel optimistic that my future meetings will be more productive than ever.

Also, the point regarding 'active listening' was an interesting one and something that I had not thought about before. Using active listening to make a conference call more closely resemble a face to face meeting is a nice concept and I will try to incorporate that as well.

I completely agree with the observation in the book that you have to make sure to manage when you schedule conference calls and not to let them overrun your schedule. Just because they are 'convenient', doesn't mean they don't take time and attention away from other responsibilities. By limiting your conference call schedule just as you would any other activity, you can keep balance in your day and make sure all of your duties are met.

Overall, I would absolutely recommend reading through this book if you would like to improve your conference calls, or if you are new to the conference call world. Despite my personal lack of interest in the first few pages, you may find that they apply more directly to your situation. Regardless, the book is worth reading, and I think you will learn quite a bit just as I did.
Bill Baldwin

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Setting a Meeting Agenda - The best way to ensure that those attending your meeting are clear about its purpose is to send them an agenda in advance. Your communication should demonstrate that the focus of the meeting is for a specific reason and not just a broad general discussion.

Are Conference Calls a Productive Use of Your Time - Conference calls are becoming more and more common nowadays. Some companies even use them on a daily basis and for a variety of different functions. But are they truly helpful? We all know that they take up time and keep you tied to the phone for the duration…but do they really accomplish enough to make it worth the time?

An Effective Agenda is the Key to a Successful Meeting - Five simple questions will ensure that you and anyone in your team only attend meetings that have been properly prepared for and will be an effective use of your time. In turn, you can ask these same questions of your own meetings to ensure that they are productive activities and that everyone who comes is properly prepared for the meeting.

Meetings Without Rules Turn Into Anarchy - A few simple rules can make all the difference between achieving your goal or not. Nowhere is this more evident than in meetings. By setting expectations appropriately everyone can share common values and behaviors .

Encouraging Open and Honest Communication - Building a team that can thrive, even in this time of worldwide economic recession is a challenging task, to say the least. While several factors go into creating a successful team, communication is the foundation upon which every great team is built. Failure to communicate will undermine even the most qualified team, company, or organization.

Do Your Meetings Overrun or Go Off-topic - How many meetings have you attended where it has become an exercise in tedium and futility, rather than being a productive use of your knowledge and time? Too many too count. Is this how others describe your meetings how can you turn your meetings into efficient decision making exercises? The answer is 'preparation'.

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