In the Beginning…

Even at its most basic, audio conferencing can be a powerful business tool.  And, like many things in business, though something may work fine, it most always can work better.  That's why I wanted to look at one vital area of a conference call and discuss how it can be improved.

The Beginning of the Conference

While the "meat" of the audio conference is why everyone dials in, it's the beginning of the call that is as much, or possibly more important.  Starting on time, the greeting, introductions, these items are very important to set the tone for the rest of the conference.  Of those three, starting on time is especially crucial for two reasons.  1.  It shows respect for your participants and guest speakers, and demonstrates you value their time.  2.  It encourages the participants to want to attend your next conference call.

The greeting is a great way to signal a definite beginning to the call, and allows you to set whatever mood you would like.  Regardless of tone, it's always a good idea to acknowledge and thank your participants, and let them know what the next hour or so is all about.

Here's a tip that is a bit unorthodox: right after the greeting, state your main point and conclusion.  Typically you wouldn't get to this until the end for many reasons: it needs setup, it's the big finish, and/or logically it just fits at the end.  But consider this, if you begin with your conclusion, then as you make each point, they will be noticed and associated with the final conclusion.  This could help your participants follow your presentation better, and maybe even make a stronger finish.

Have any of you readers ever started a conference with your conclusion?  Tell me how it worked out.