The agenda of a teleconference must be very carefully considered. It is important to remember that one of the reasons why you decided to conduct your meeting via conference call in the first place was to save time, so your agenda should be tightly structured and strictly adhered to.
Much like regular in-person meetings, agendas should be emailed out to participants at least a week before the event takes place. This gives people time to make amendments and prepare any necessary documents or questions.
Here are three key elements to include in your agenda:
1) Structured outline
It will be much easier to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity if your agenda has a structured outline and you make sure everyone sticks to it. It may be useful to have a designated leader to keep the discussion on track.
Create an ordered agenda and indicate who is scheduled to speak at each point. This will help to keep people from talking over each other and deviating from the topic at hand. Not everyone has to stay for the whole meeting - it's fine for attendees to leave the meeting and return for the next agenda item that concerns them.
2) Guest list
Ensure that you include a detailed list of who is on the teleconference and include their job title. This avoids long introductions on the call itself and saves time for more important business discussions.
Attendees should say their name before speaking or asking a question so that everyone knows who they're listening to. This also means guests can ask questions of the most appropriate person during the conference.
3) Question time
Conference calls are a great way to collaborate, but when there are many people involved on the call it can get a little rowdy if everyone wants to ask questions at the same time. If it's relevant to your meeting, include plenty of time for questions. Outline in the agenda whether questions can be asked after each topic or only at the end of the call. You may also consider using the 'mute' function on your conference call to avoid too many people speaking at once.
A benefit of allocating adequate time for questions is that it allows participants to feel genuinely included in the meeting. Increased engagement equals increased meeting success.
Don't forget to take some time following the meeting to ask your guests for feedback regarding the conference so that you can make improvements for next time.