Conference calls are invaluable. They foster long-distance cooperation while keeping your projects on track, but most of the time, they’re also mind-numbingly boring. While most calls are 30 minutes or less, you’ve probably been stuck in at least a few that stretch more than a couple of hours.

Here are the five best ways to keep your conference calls nice and short:

1. Preparation

Have you ever made a conference call before? If not, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the software and equipment (if any). The minute you take a break to figure out a feature, the entire conference call grinds to a halt. Your coworkers will start wondering what else they could be doing with their time, and when you get the call back up and running, they’ll be less involved.

Avoid last minute surprises by making sure you are well prepared for the meeting the day before. This includes setting up and scheduling the meeting, providing the meeting information and preparing an agenda for all attendees.

2. Ground rules

Let everyone know the purpose of the meeting ahead of time. Your coworkers will be less likely to introduce new topics and derail the meeting, and they’ll have time to prepare their own documents and resources. Some helpful tips to keep the conference call running smoothly include:

  • Assign a moderator to make sure everyone’s conversation is on topic
  • Letting everyone know which document or page you’re looking at.
  • Setting a strict time limit and do a 10 minute time check prior to meeting’s end.

3. The element of surprise

While you want to announce your agenda ahead of time, you don’t want to give away all of the details. If you have slides, limit them to major talking points, and elaborate on each in detail. Attendees will be more likely to listen if they don’t already have all of the information directly at their fingertips.

4. Demand punctuality

You wouldn’t be late to a face-to-face meeting, but many people have a double standard when it comes to conference calls. Set your schedule, and stick to it. Whatever you do, don’t show up five minutes late — you’ll set a horrible example for your coworkers, and don’t be surprised when they show up late the next time.

**With Voxeet, we call you and your participants at the scheduled meeting time — you’ll never have to worry about being late again.

5. Technology is your friend

It’s 2014, and there shouldn’t be an excuse for a sub-par conferencing system. Using a reliable conferencing system that lets you and your participants hear and connect easily will let everyone focus on what’s important, the call. When conference calls work, they lead to better collaboration, clearer communication, and greater efficiency.

Need a conferencing solution for your conference calls? Look no further. Click here to download Voxeet today.