Let's face it: Conference calls aren’t always the most efficient way to communicate.
Confusion about who is speaking, participants talking over each other, how to start a conference call, unclear goals, and irrelevant side conversations can all waste time and frustrate participants.
Avoid these pitfalls and chair your next meeting with confidence with these five conference call script samples and guidelines.
1. Introduce Speakers, Meeting Introduction
Naturally, you’ll want to introduce yourself and all the presenters. Make sure to introduce participants who are new to the group.
Hello everyone. This is Larry from Microdot Technology. I'm calling in with Jimmy Wayne, Susan Francis, and Lou Denver. [Pause to allow them to greet]. We also have the Chief Financial Officer, Michael Chen, calling in from LA.
However, if you’ve got a larger conference call (more than 10 people), it’s not going to be efficient for you to run through a list of names during the meeting introduction. In fact, people may tune out. Instead, just acknowledge there are a lot of people and only introduce key speakers.
Hey everyone, Juan from Centurion Marketing here. I wanted to take a second to remind everyone to stay on mute during the presentation. Please hold your questions until the end, as there’ll be time for questions and answers. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce our speakers: Justin Davids and Priti Gupta from Passenger Technology.
2. Get to the Point
Next, open with a brief summary of why you’re meeting and what you hope to accomplish during the call.
Okay. So we want to come up with a strategy for the Cutlass Software buyout. We need to iron out how we're going to finalize the contract and secure the funds. Our legal team will coordinate details with our financial officers, and then I need to sign the paperwork. This is going to be a team effort for all of us on the call.
3. Plan Speaking Order Ahead of Time
Plan out the order that each person will speak in. If you’ve got multiple departments, consider arranging speakers by department in an order that makes sense for your topic. Think about emailing an agenda ahead of time so there's no uncertainty about who speaks and when. That way you can avoid dead air, talking over each other, and generalized confusion that can disrupt the call.
You can even go a step further and add estimated speaking times in the agenda. This will give speakers an idea of how long they have, as well as give participants a sense of forward momentum.
Let's get started with our Legal Counsel, Susan Francis. She's been working on the buyout contract for the past month. Susan, what can you tell us...
Thanks, Susan. The next speaker on our agenda is from our financial services department, James Fitzpatrick. James, tell us what the banks need from us...
So that's all for legal and financial. I'm going to say a few words about where Microdot Technology is headed...
4. Steer Discussion Successfully
You can plan a discussion all you want, but conversations can have a life of their own and go in many different directions. So you’re going to have to shape the flow in a polite way. An effective way to do this is to acknowledge the previous person’s point and then offer to continue their conversation in another venue, whether offline or in a different conference call.
Susan, can we discuss your concern in a few minutes? Lou will present the logistics schedule next.
James, that's a valid point, but let's take it offline after the meeting.
These are all good ideas, but we only have 15 minutes left and need to focus on the main goal. I’ll arrange another call to go do some more brainstorming.
Lou, we can save that for the presentation we're giving the shareholders next week.
That's a fair point. But we don't need to finalize a public announcement until the buyout has been announced to Cutlass shareholders next quarter.
5. Summarize the Call
To wrap up your call, give a brief summary of what was discussed. It’s good practice to highlight how the call brought your team closer to the goals you outlined in step 2. This will make people feel like it was a productive meeting.
Then provide some guidance on what the next steps are. If you need another meeting, set a tentative date. Tell participants that you’ll follow up and share any new or outstanding action items with them. And don’t forget to thank everyone for their time.
Alright, nice call everyone. We decided to rewrite the contract, so Susan, please get started on that ASAP. And with the banks, James will determine if we should use our own capital to buy out the 8% share remaining with Cutlass Software or apply for a loan. Susan and James, please send your documents to the board of directors and me by Friday. We'll meet again when the contract gets finalized. Thanks, everyone. Have a good day, and talk to you soon.
For more ideas on how to start a conference call and how to conduct productive calls, read our blog posts about how to chair a conference call and conference call etiquette. And for those participants who are calling in from home, check out our blog on remote work tips to improve call quality.