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Conference Call Survival Tips

When I worked for Merrill Lynch, I typically had 3 – 5 conference calls per week and while staying engaged was important, it was a struggle because some were very unorganized and outright boring. Here are some tips to staying engaged because someone might just call your name out and you might just be completely lost as to what they were discussing!

Location, location, location:
1. If you are in an office, close the door with a note on the door (conf call in progress)
2. If you are in a cube, try to use a conf room space
3. Either way, give your full attention to the call

Take Notes!!
1. Your mind can easily wander in face to face meetings, and it can take a marathon hike during a conference call. You must take notes to ensure you stay on track.
2. Taking notes is active listening, plus now you have a record of what was discussed on a call. Use your laptop or notes section on your smart phone to record main points and to do items.
Follow up – it will distinguish you from others
3. Follow up on key items and what you are responsible for. NO ONE EVER DOES THAT. I’m not talking about taking minutes, focus on key items and what can be done to move them forward

Network
1. Who is running the meeting? Get to know them in person if possible
Observe & Learn
2. What was good about the meeting that you can use next time you run one? What was bad about the meeting (no agenda, no follow up, no one listening) and make sure you keep it interesting and respected which means a) start on time, b) have someone take minutes, c) follow up on next steps

Conference calls are a way of life these days. These tips will help you to master the calls and maximize your effectiveness throughout your day and career.