If you’ve ever participated in a work call or meeting that was incredibly unorganized and confusing, you’re no stranger to the frustration that can accompany such events. Unorganized calls and meetings often leave the participants feeling more confused than before they joined, and can make finding common ground among team members all the more difficult. The best calls are organized, straight to the point, and utilize the right platform to ensure they remain so. Keep reading to learn how to better organize your work calls.

Always Have an Agenda

 An agenda acts as a blueprint for your call or meeting. Without a blueprint, you’re essentially trying to build a house without a plan; it’s simply not going to turn out well for you or the team. An agenda creates a focused plan for the meeting, keeping everyone on the same track and identifying key issues or details that need to be addressed.

An effective agenda can also help reduce some of the distraction that often occurs during work calls. With no real focal point, participants will wander into other territories, turning your work call into gossip or otherwise irrelevant conversation. Agendas promote focus and show your team that you’re serious and motivated.

Agendas come in all shapes and sizes, and the web is home to thousands of agenda templates that you can use to create the perfect one for your next work call. Whether you’re solving a key issue or announcing a new project, using an agenda will make your call more effective, efficient, and professional.

Only Invite Relevant Participants

 For a more focused meeting, it’s crucial that only the people who absolutely need to participate are invited. Inviting those team members who don’t actually need to participate will only serve to distract the other participants and derail the conversation.

Think about why you’re hosting the call before deciding who to invite. Is this a meeting on sales numbers? Plans for the future? Disciplinary action? Each of these subjects will require a different group of people for the discussion. Jane from accounting probably doesn’t need to participate in a call about a new marketing direction.

Once you’ve narrowed down your guest list, you can provide an itinerary to each person to further increase the focus of the meeting. Remember that your meeting agenda isn’t just for your own reference; it should be distributed to each caller before the call (ideally a few days prior). That way, each participant can provide feedback and suggestions before the call.

Gather Pre and Post-Call Feedback

 Speaking of feedback, another great way to organize your work calls is to gather feedback before and after the call takes place. As mentioned, providing a copy of the agenda to each caller beforehand allows them to look over your itinerary and make suggestions on the subject matter, date and time, and more.

Feedback serves a twofold purpose: it allows for team members to have a voice in what is being discussed, and also allows you to analyze your own organization style and identify any issues that may be hindering progress or making your calls disorganized.

Post-call feedback is equally as important as its pre-call counterpart. After a call has ended, your team members will either feel informed and satisfied or confused and possibly frustrated. Tapping into this insight will ensure that your next meeting is better organized and focused to avoid any negative feelings once the call has ended.

Use the Right Platform/Tools

 As with any job, the right tools can make all the difference in its success or failure. If you’re unsure how to set up a conference call, using a conference calling service might be your best bet. These web-based services provide simple, intuitive interfaces to work from, making the setup and invitation process quick and easy.

Online conference calling services often include extra tools to help better organize and increase the effectiveness of your calls as well. Tools like video calling, screen sharing, and even cloud sharing/storage can keep your team focused and ensure that any relevant materials are distributed accordingly.

Conference calling services will differ in price and what tools they provide, giving you plenty of options to choose from. Maybe you don’t actually need video conference services, so you can choose a package that doesn’t include the tool. Or, perhaps your team understands visual information better and would benefit from screen sharing tools. Whatever the case may be, there’s sure to be a package out there that will work for your individual needs.

Schedule Ahead of Time

 Nothing is more frustrating than scrambling to meet a deadline or prepare for a last-minute meeting or presentation. If you’re scheduling work calls, it’s better for everyone if they’re scheduled in advance. It doesn’t necessarily have to be weeks in advance, but a day or two is certainly preferred to a few hours’ notice.

Tools like Google calendar can help you stay on top of scheduling and inviting participants, with customizable reminders to keep everyone on track on the date and time of your call.

Conclusion

 A more organized call will always yield better results and prevent frustration and confusion among its participants. Always have an agenda, and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your participants. This information is vital for creating better, more efficient work calls and ensuring everyone is on the same page.