Of the many types of calls that you can make, conference calls stand head-and-shoulder above the others in terms of being one of the most important ones to make – since it allows you to essentially decide a company or group’s path going forward – as well as being perhaps the trickiest to make and manage and make a success.
Sure, it may sound so easy to do one. All you have to do is get some kind of software for conferencing – of which there are tons in the Internet, many of them even free. You then contact the folks who should be participating in the conference call, agree on a time and date, and then you’re all set.
Well, were it so easy.
Without proper knowledge and know-how of conference call best practices, you may as well not make one, because it is almost guaranteed that your conference call – and the proceeding conference call transcription that you will no doubt request from a conference call transcription service because how can you even review an hour-long conference call without a transcript in hand? – will be pure bonkers without proper guidelines and rules and whatnot.
As such, listed below are some general conference call best practices for you to follow both before, during, and after a conference call in order to get the best conference call transcriptions that you can have.
- Ensure that all of the equipment is in place – This includes not only telephones and computers but also everything that one may need during a conference call such as essential PDF files or images that you might want to show to your participants. Also, preload applications that you might use during the call. There is nothing more stupid than having to spend precious time waiting for something to load during conference calls.
- Expect that something will fail – and prepare accordingly – Now, this might sound like peculiar advice, and perhaps it is, but really, coming into conference calls with the mindset that whatever your preparations, something somewhere is bound to fail – whether that’s a participant’s phone line or Internet connection, or worst case scenario, your own devices – helps you think beforehand of what you can do to lessen these kinds of risks and make the call a success.
- Lay out the ground rules – The first agenda in a conference call should be for you to lay out the ground rules, as it were, of the call so that speakers know what to say and focus on. It also goes without saying that you inform them beforehand of the topic so that they do not come in empty-handed and ignorant and will not have to sit there listening without ever contributing anything to the discussion at hand.
- Have your participants identify themselves – Something that gets annoying really quickly in conference calls is having a bunch of people who sound so much alike to the point that you and the other participants of the conference call have a hard time identifying who exactly is speaking at a given moment. Letting this kind of thing happen complicates things for you. Thus, it is vital that you at any time that participants speak, you have them identify themselves by name.
- Properly moderate the call – This is the most important point in this list. A conference call without a proper moderator would end up directionless and would simply meander around different topics and talking points without getting into the heart of things. Thus, a moderator that can properly guide the participants back into line whenever they get out of hand is a must. A moderator must wield his or her power as the moderator to straighten out or smoothen problems before they develop and snowball into disasters that would render your conference call moot and pointless.
- Specify formats and other concerns, if any – When the call is over and done and you send the recordings that you have to a conference call transcription service, make sure that you explain properly if there is a specific format for the transcript that you want delivered into your hands.
- Send to a quality conference calls transcription service – This is of course common sense. If you want a good transcription of your conference call, you send it to a good and quality conference calls transcription service.
- Do not expect a very perfect job with the transcription – This is another entry into this list that might seem weird or unneeded advice, but this is also important. Even conference calls that were heavily prepared for and was moderated by a skilled moderator can have hiccups and iffy parts here and there, thanks in large part to the fact that conference call participants do not see the body language and non-verbal cues of their fellow participants and thus may start speaking at the same time. Audio such as these is usually hard to properly understand, again depending on the participants. As such, be ready for an unintelligible part or two in even conference call transcripts that followed the other things on this list. As in number two of this list, be prepared to lose some battles but win the whole war, as it were.
Following the list above should help you turn out a better conference call recording and thus be able to better utilize a conference call transcription.