Our conference call bingo card is just for fun! OF COURSE we would NEVER suggest playing bingo with colleagues when you're meant to be working....but you can mark the card right here on screen if you like or add some extra items if you want to generate some different cards!
Conference Call Bingo
Love them or hate them, conference calls are here to stay due to the popularity of remote and hybrid working. Joking aside, here’s a few tips for successful conference calls from Sue Dawson, who’s been doing them daily since 2019.
Team conference calls
- Set up recurring meetings always to use the same link and put it in the diary entry. If it has to be changed, remind everyone shortly beforehand or you’ll soon be marking “Sorry I went to the wrong link” on your card.
- Have an agenda and stick to it. We have a meetings board in the Asana project management tool which allows team members to add items they want to discuss quickly and easily.
- Be punctual. Allow a couple of minutes to connect so you’ve got time to deal with any issues like Mic not working.
- Allow enough time for your meeting and leave a break in between meetings so no-one has to be rude and say “I need to jump to another call”
- Conversational cues don’t work so well online and once there are more than three people in the meeting, you NEED a chairperson to avoid Everyone talking at once and to ensure the meeting doesn’t veer off course.
External conference calls
- If you’re meeting people in a different timezone, double check the meeting time to avoid Timezone mix-up.
- On a team call, things like Wrong/joke name showing may not matter. But on an external call, you’re an ambassador for your organisation and having the correct setup is all part of the dress code.
- While we’re on the subject of dress code, of course you know better than to show up in your pyjamas, but what about the risk of a pyjama clad Family member on screen? My son once got stuck for an hour in nothing but a towel, not wanting either to walk across in the background or to interrupt the meeting by asking me to turn the video off.
Conference call parties
If you try to get more than about 6 or 7 people together to socialise on a conference call, you’ll find that a small number of people do all of the talking and the rest don’t say anything (and may not even turn their video on). This is fine if you’re running a quiz or similar but awful at a freeform gathering. People at an in person party will tend to break into smaller conversational groups and move around between them, but this won’t happen naturally online even if you set up breakout rooms as there’s no nonverbal cues as to when it’s OK to join or leave a group. A moderator in the lobby is needed, to greet new arrivals and help them find a conversation to join. Having been to several such parties I can tell you that there’s no icebreaker as effective as Pet on screen and the most popular breakout room is usually the one with kittens in.
You wouldn’t normally schedule back to back in-person meetings all day. Yes, we do that at industry conferences (remember those?) but end up absolutely shattered. Back to back video conferences are even more tiring because of the need to focus your attention on the screen, with the result that after 3-4 hours of video conferencing attention starts to waver and everyone’s tempted to fake Sudden disconnection. You’ll be much more effective in conference calls if you don’t schedule too many!