If you want to keep up with today’s pace and compete against corporate giants, you’ve got to be able to expand your reach. This is a big dilemma for some businesses because they just do not have the budget for business travel.
You can overcome some budget and distance issues with conferencing for small business, but making the most of modern technology takes skills and preparation. Keep reading to learn what is essential to successful conference calls, so you can take your business to new heights.
Evaluate Your Software
Do you spend the first fifteen minutes of your meeting helping people connect? Do meeting participants have to download software in order to see the screens you’re trying to share? How about getting cut off just as you are getting to your point—or a sale? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your current software is outdated and it’s time to shop around.
Joining Your Meeting Should be Easy
Look for software that supports a productive meeting right from the start, by providing multiple joining options that even the most novice techie can easily figure out. Some systems even integrate with your Google Calendar, Outlook, or Office 365 apps, for quick, easy meeting scheduling and invitations.
Simply schedule a meeting in your calendar, choose invitees, and an invitation will automatically be sent and integrated into their calendars.
When it is time, participants can join via the web or mobile by clicking a link that will use single sign-on technology to take them right to the meeting. If they need to dial in, there is a solution for that too. All they have to do is dial the provided direct local or toll-free number. No passcodes or complicated prompts to deal with.
Your Meeting Control Console Should be Easy, Too
Let’s just get this out in the open right now: Humans are terrible at multitasking. So bad that scientists say we should stop. When you are in an important meeting, doing your best to make the most of the face time you’ve got with a potential client, judge, or decision-maker, you should be able to focus on your interaction and presentation. Not the control console and technical difficulties.
Your software should be so easy to use, you don’t even have to think about it. The guy who insists on running the vacuum through the whole meeting should be able to find the mute button himself. And no one should have to download anything special to see the screen you are sharing.
Your client’s time is too valuable to waste on glitches, complications, and distractions, so you need to make sure your software is able to give both of you the simplest user experience possible.
Comprehensive Follow-Up Should be the Norm
When your meeting is over, you want to move on with your day, without spending a whole lot of time on follow-up. The right conference calling software allows you to share files in real-time, so you don’t have to remember later.
Knowing a recording of the call will be shared after your meeting is over helps participants stay engaged and present instead of being distracted trying to take notes. You can even have a transcript of your meeting made to share.
Finally, know who exactly came to your meeting, when they came, and when they left, so you can coordinate with remote workers and employees.
This gives everyone an incentive to be on time, so the entire meeting isn’t interrupted because no one knew that one essential person wasn’t there until they asked a question and were met with silence.
More than half of this article so far has been about finding the right software, but its importance cannot be overstated. Your conferencing service is the foundation of all your long distance and remote business relationships. Not having a system that supports your business makes conference calling a cumbersome, dreaded task.
The whole point of online meeting software is to allow remote workers, long-distance business partnerships, and clients the benefit of face-to-face contact without the expense and time investment of travel.
Your software should give everyone business collaboration tools that elevate your meetings to a new level, making them even better than in-person.
Invite All the Right People
Has this ever happened before? You’re giving your prospect some final figures, but you’re missing data or someone asks you a question you don’t know the answer to. Larry knows the answer, but you forgot to invite him.
Now you’re trying to get him on the line and when he finally does answer, it sounds like you woke him up. Don’t do that to your clients or Larry. Just make sure you invite him ahead of time.
Have a Meeting Agenda
Not having a meeting agenda sets your meeting up for failure before you even get started. With an agenda, you let everyone know you have been preparing and you are taking initiative. Your agenda facilitates and guides a productive meeting. Make one to keep everyone on track so you can end your meeting on time.
Make Sure Everything is Ready to Go
Before your meeting, check your microphone, speaker, and video settings. Make sure all the important cables are connected, including your router. You need at least 1 Mbps of broadband for a smooth call, and loose cables could mean your deal-winning smile freezes and gets pixelated at the finish line.
Finally, check the controls you will be using during the meeting to give yourself a final review before everyone arrives.
Don’t Forget to Breathe
If you are nervous, you may quite literally be holding your breath. Which contributes to anxiety. Which causes you to hold your breath. Before your meeting starts, make sure you are breathing. Take a few deep breaths to relax your diaphragm and your mind.
You’ve got this.