Have you ever played Conference Call Bingo? Basically, it is a bingo card full of squares with common occurrences that happen on conference call like a hearing barking dog, or someone asking “did ___ just join?” another person saying “can everyone see my screen?”. The regular rules of bingo apply, except it is frowned upon by most leadership to yell BINGO in said conference calls.
My theory on the development of this game is that conference calls can be a bit daunting for individuals who are left out of active roles in these meetings. Conference calls break down because of poor facilitation by the meeting organizer. Let’s look at a couple of ways to improve this and keep your participants from playing this game by looking at better conference call facilitation.
Have an administrator for large meetings
If technical difficulties are common or you have meetings larger than ten, have a person dedicated to managing the meeting. This person can help to get people logged in, check the chat, and be there to support when you need them. Call admins are invaluable for group discussions and unexpected technical issues that always seem to happen on these calls.
If one person is on the phone, everyone is on the phone
This is a hard rule to follow if most of the staff is in an office or there are only a few remote staff, but it is important. When a small portion of staff – or worse, only one – are calling into a meeting the facilitator should have the foresight to insist that everyone sit in their office and call into the conference line. This will cut down on side conversations, and not take for granted any technical errors that may be happening unbeknownst to the people in the room.
Have you been on a bad conference call? What are some other ways to improve conference call facilitation? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!