How to moderate a conference call
Telefonkonferenzen sind ein wichtiges Instrument in der Geschäftswelt. Oft sind Sie als Sekretärin nicht nur für die Vorbereitung, sondern auch für die Moderation zuständig. Lesen Sie worauf Sie achten sollten, um perfekt zu moderieren.
What exactly is a conference call?
A conference call is a telephone call with more than two parties participating. In some conference calls, the called parties can participate actively in the call, in others they can only listen.
Most companies use specialised service providers to set up conference calls for them. These providers set up a conference bridge, a piece of equipment that links telephone lines together.
Participants are given a number to dial and can join in whenever they want.
Conference calls can be a useful tool in the business world. They are much cheaper than traditional conferences: there are no hotel costs, no travel expenses and no time lost by participants travelling to and fro.
But to be effective, there has to be someone professional in charge of the proceedings.
If you are this person, there are a few things you should know, and there are some useful phrases you can use to lead the participants through the conference.
Normally, you will not be involved in the actual setting up of the conference call. Most companies choose a specialised service provider for conference calls.
The 3 main advantages of conference calls
Conference calls have 3 big advantages:
1 because there is no travel involved, there are no CO2 emissions, they are environmentally friendly
2 because there are no travel expenses involved, they are more economical
3 because people don’t have to attend out-of-office meetings, they are time-savers
Here are some phrases you can use next time you are in charge of a conference call
- My name is Monika Brinkmann. I am Christian Jacobs’ secretary.
- Can everybody hear me properly?
- I will be your timekeeper during this conference call.
- This telephone conference will last two hours. After one hour there will be a five minute break.
- Please don’t hang up during the break. Just put your telephone receiver down.
- As time is limited, you will be allotted a certain amount of time in which to speak.
- If you talk for too long, I will have to interrupt you – so be prepared for that.
- We have six participants and one hour’s time, which works out at ten minutes each.
- We all like to know who we are talking to, so please remember to identify yourself before speaking.
- I will be taking the minutes and I am responsible for circulating them.
- I’m sorry to interrupt you, but could you say your name for the other participants, please?
- I’m sorry but I’m having difficulty understanding you.
What to say when people are having problems following a telephone conference
Here are some things to say when the connection is bad.
- Are you using a mobile or cordless phone? You may have to dial in again from a phone that is hardwired into the telephone lines.
- It might help if you turn off the speakerphone.
- Can you try hanging up and dialling in again. That might help.
- Try using the ‘mute’ button on your phone and only ‘un-mute’ when you need to speak.
Tips for getting the participants ready for the conference call
So informieren Sie die Teilnehmer darüber, wie sie sich auf die Telefonkonferenz vorbereiten.
To make sure your company gets the best out of the conference call, email a list of instructions to the participants in good time before the call, for instance together with the agenda.
In preparation for our conference call on October 11, I would like to ask you to look at these guidelines. They will help make sure the call is a success.
Guidelines for telephone conferences
- Please participate in the conference call from a quiet room. There should be no surrounding noise.
- Please use good telephone equipment and familiarise yourself with it before calling in.
- Please log in on time and introduce yourself.
- When you want to say something, please identify yourself.
Conference calls are a paid service attended by a number of people. Let’s make optimum use of the time by remaining focussed on the agenda.
Do you feel confident when you’re involved in a conference call?
Fühlen Sie sich sicher, wenn Sie eine Telefonkonferenz moderieren? Testen Sie Ihre Sicherheit mit dieser Aufgabe.
If you are in charge of a telephone conference there are certain things you have to do and say to make sure all the participants make the most out of their time on the phone. Test how well you are in charge of the proceedings.
Complete these sentences by adding the missing words. The first letter has been given to help you.
1 I’m the t_______________ of this conference call. If you’re talking too long I may have to i_________ you.
2 Please make sure you use good telephone e_____________ and f________yourself with it before calling.
3 Please l__________ in on time and i __________ yourself.
4 When you want to say something, please i__________ yourself.
5 I will be taking the m________ and I am responsible for c____________ them.
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Answers: 1. timetaker / interrupt, 2. equipment / familiarise 3. log / introduce 4. identify 5. minutes / circulating