Improve Your Conference Calls by Alerting Participants of Questions in Advance

Who, Where, Why, What, How, When?

Surprising your conference call participants with questions can result in embarrassing delays as they search for an appropriate response. Fortunately, these awkward moments can be prevented entirely and for all time by having conference event moderators adopt the practice of alerting participants in advance of their required contribution to the group's discussion. Like all good habits, adopting this practice requires discipline and practice. One respected approach identifies seven basic steps that we have applied to the circumstances of a conference event moderator:

  1. Identify the habit. Recall the last time the flow of the group's conversation was interrupted by a delayed or inappropriate response to a question.
  2. Make the decision, and then the commitment to change. Self-improvement is often an end in itself but, failing that, consider that every moderator is a role model for those attending the calls who aspire to become conference moderators at some future point in their career.
  3. Discover your triggers and obstacles. Feeling rushed or operating in a pressure-filled environment often triggers moderators into firing off a series of questions at unsuspecting participants. Use of a timed agenda can allow discussions to flow in a more orderly fashion.
  4. Devise a plan. Use the time before the start of each conference call to list the key questions and the participants who possess the answers. Present these questions at the start of the conference event so that responders have plenty of time to prepare.
  5. Employ visualization and affirmations. Consider the likely responses then reinforce with praise those who most nearly deliver the expected answer.
  6. Enlist support from peers. Informing conference event participants of your desire to change your questioning behavior is perhaps the most effective way for the group to make sure you are made aware of surprise questions made to unsuspecting participants!
  7. Find healthy ways to reward yourself. Less time spent in meetings should be the direct result of practicing good habits on the conference call. End the call early and allow everyone to get back to work!

We hope these seven simple steps meaningfully assist you in your efforts to improve the effectiveness of your conference events. We also hope it allows you to set the standard by which future moderators manage their conference calls. Happy Conferencing!

March 13, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , | Tags: conference calls, conference event moderator, moderator, participants


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