Transform Your Conference Calling Effectiveness With Timed Agendas

People in a Meeting

Meetings held on audio, web and video conference calls are one of the common ways that many of us get work done on the job. We may discuss issues, share new information and make important decisions in meetings. However, conference calls can also be one of the ways that time is wasted in the workplace. A timed agenda can be a great way of keeping meetings on track and making sure that meetings not only begin and end on time, but that each topic also gets its just allotted time. We believe that the use of a timed agenda can also serve as a helpful training and recognition opportunity that can remove the burden placed upon the conference call moderator or host for developing and managing the conference meeting's timed agenda. These opportunities are highlighted in bold print below.

A timed agenda is simply a written agenda that allocates a certain amount of time to each agenda item. Of course, the participants might not need all the time allotted, but it contributes to some pre-planning and makes sure that one topic does not take up all the participants' energy and resources. For a timed agenda to work, all the participants have to adhere to it and use a clock to stay on schedule. Be sure to take into account time to make introductions, vote on business items, or tend to other details that take up time. We recommend that the host delegate the responsibility for tracking the timeliness of agenda topics to one of the conference participants.

One of the main benefits of a timed agenda (other than time efficiency) is that it forces the participants to plan for the meeting in advance. This keeps unnecessary topics from taking up time and focus. It also forces the group to prioritize to fit within the time constraints. While you will want to allow for enough time to discuss topics and do business, if it looks like something is running over, it may be necessary to table it or create another action plan to honor the other agenda items. We recommend the host delegate the task of keeping summarizing and publishing the key points made on each agenda topic along with any commitments or actions requiring further follow up.

A timed agenda also lets participants know how much time they will have for reports, questions, new business, etc. in advance so they can be prepared. It can be so inefficient to ask for a report from someone at a meeting who had no idea that she or he was going to be asked to report. A timed agenda can keep conference call meetings lean and functional, and contribute to decent time management as well. We recommend the host express appreciation to all those who covered their agenda topics within the specified time. This positive feedback should be followed by establishing the agenda for the next conference call. We also recommend the host delegate the task for a participant to develop and publish the agenda for the next conference meeting.

Timed agendas can increase the effectiveness of your conference calls significantly and ultimately boost employee satisfaction and company profits.

February 27, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , , , | Tags: conference call moderator, conference calls, employee satisfaction, meetings, timed agendas, video conference calls


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