Looking for a few tips to help keep things on track and on schedule?
In this post I offer a few ways to keep your phone calls short, sweet and to the point.
Write down the points you want to discuss.
Just like an in-person meeting, it’s helpful to know ahead of time what subjects or topics you want to cover during a phone call. Get into the habit of jotting down brief agendas to help direct the course of conversation. Think about why you are holding the call in the first place. What points, topics or ideas do you want to discuss? Are there specific questions you want to ask participants? Regularly consult your agenda as the call progresses to make sure your conversation moves along in the right direction.
Keep an eye on the time.
One surefire way to have an unproductive phone call is to let the call drag on, and on and on. Keep an eye on the time by setting a timer at the start of your call and placing it somewhere prominent in your field of view. It’s also a good idea to remind call participants of the length of the call so that everyone knows when things will start to wrap up. Consider giving participants a five-minute warning before the end of the call so that final points can be presented and discussed.
Do quick recaps during, and right after the call.
Having a phone call to discuss items is one thing, but what you do after the phone call is entirely another. Make sure your call wasn’t held in vain by quickly recapping the general points towards the end. What were the most important points of the conversation? What important decisions were made and addressed? What are the next steps to be taken after the call? It’s also a good idea to write-up a brief email or memo as well so you have written proof recapping the call. You could also circulate your email or memo for quick review by others to make sure no points were missed.
How about you? How do you know when you’ve just had a productive phone call? What are the telltale signs of a productive phone call? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!