by Elise Schoening | November 15, 2019

Event planning takes a team. But with 43 percent of Americans working remotely at least some of the time, according to a 2019 Gallup poll, it's not always possible to do the planning in person. Conference tools can connect teams, but keeping the conversation timely and on task can be a challenge. Try the tips below to get more out of your meeting-planning conference calls. 

1. Set an Agenda

To maximize the conference call, it's best to create an agenda outlining everything that will need to be discussed. Write out each topic, whether it be the event decor, lighting, suppliers or registration, and who will need to chime in on its progress. Be sure to share the agenda with your team a few days before the call, so they can properly prepare. Conferencetown.com, a conference-call provider, suggests attaching the agenda to the meeting invite. This will ensure everyone on the call has a copy and can easily access the agenda at any time.

2. Assign an Emcee

To make sure everyone on the call sticks to the agenda, you'll need to assign someone to direct the flow. This is particularly important for those planning a large-scale conference with many helping hands involved.

Real Simple magazine recommends the emcee start off the conversation by asking people to introduce themselves and reminding everyone to mute their phones when not speaking to minimize background noise. The emcee is also tasked with keeping the conversation on topic throughout the call, and should ask for questions/additional comments at the end.

3. Keep the Meetings Short & Concise

It's easy to get stuck jumping from one meeting to the next. According to a study from Bain & Company, senior executives spend more than two days a week in meetings. However, longer meetings aren't always more effective.

Priority Matrix, a project-management solution, says conference calls should always start and end on time. Don't wait too long for others to join the call before getting started. If there's more to discuss afterward, follow up with those specific people, rather than keeping everyone on the line and cutting into their precious time.

4. Record the Call

Taking notes is good idea, but Priority Matrix also recommends recording the call -- and most conference-call providers offer the feature.

Having a record of the call can help when making decisions down the road. The call transcript can also be sent to anyone on the events team who wasn't able to make the meeting.