Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

BY Craig Walker, CEO

Leadership development consultant John Baldoni conducted a series of experiments over a decade to determine how best to keep everyone’s attention in conference calls. He found there is only one sure meeting killer and that is not involving your participants.

At least 95% of all meeting participants tune out at some point. It’s even easier on a conference call.  So if you want to not only captivate, but motivate your team, coworkers or important business contacts on your next UberConference, here are 5 great ways to pump them up for their best meeting ever:

  1. Have an agenda. No one likes having meetings just to have a meeting. If you are just touching base that is one thing, but a regularly assigned meeting for meeting’s sake is irritating to most people and can be a complete waste of time and productivity. Have a focus for the meeting before you go into it. This will help everyone get the most out of the meeting.
  2. Let everyone have a say. Even if you are in charge of the meeting, and even if you have an agenda in mind, just going on and on and not letting others have a word is just asking them to tune you out. You may also be tuning out some great insights that could help push your idea to the next level. Letting others participate in the conversation is key to keeping their attention.
  3. Give participants something to prepare before the meeting.One sure way to involve people and make them feel important is to have them look into something before the meeting. This helps them feel included and gives them something to add to the conversation.
  4. Resist the temptation to multi-task. Do not surf the net, read emails or do other things while on the conference call. People can tell, even over the phone, if you are not really paying attention. If you are not present for your own meeting no one else will be either.
  5. Drive consensus and decisions. After making sure people have been heard, formulate a plan of action while you are in the meeting. Speak back the important points covered and make sure everyone is on the same page with the next steps. Wrap up with a plan of action. People like to feel like the meeting was productive and their next moves are clear. This will help everyone feel the meeting went well.