Using a conference call to troubleshoot an issue that people are having cuts right to the chase. Being able to talk to multiple parties at the same time avoids the “he said/she said” situation by having all the relevant parties get on the call together to hash things out.
Here are the best ways to problem solve on a conference call.
Determine Whether the Conference Call is Even Necessary
Discuss with each party separately to try to get to the bottom of the outstanding issues. Often, it’s just a case of miscommunication that can be cleared up quickly. Sometimes people who are disagreeing tend to get heated and fail to adequately explain their position so that the other person can understand it clearly. Once someone outside of the disagreement can get the facts on either side, quite often, a resolution can be found faster than having a conference call.
Occasionally, people disagree because they’re frustrated. When they’re not best qualified for the position or are working in an unsuitable industry, it often causes friction. Finding the right industry for your particular talents must be seen as the first step to having a happy, productive career.
Set a Time Limit
Open-ended conference calls make it possible for people to argue continually without any real interest in solving the problem at hand. The call can becomes about venting their dissatisfaction at the current situation. By setting a time limit, the person responsible for running the call can insist that people stay focused on how to resolve the business problems rather than complaining about them which changes nothing.
Get Everyone Relevant on the Call
There’s no point in holding a conference call if one of the major players or the people who must make the final decision aren’t on the call too. Whoever must make a recommendation about how to resolve the problem must be present or the call is a waste of time.
Make Conferences Accessible from Anywhere
Don’t make it necessary to access the conference from a single location or country. When people are traveling on business (or even on vacation abroad), it’s important to enable everyone who should be on the call to connect. Ensure smartphones or tablets on Android and iOS can also access the call too. Don’t make it a restriction that only people with a laptop or phone can connect.
Leader Arrives the Earliest
Don’t risk arriving late to a conference call and keeping the attendees waiting on you. This will only make it more difficult to resolve the problem. Plan to connect to the call earlier than necessary so that any issue with internet connectivity, getting a phone line out or being available on time is avoided.
Prepare a List of Points for Discussion
Discuss the issue(s) separately with the parties involved to get a clear understanding of the problem at hand. Use this to understand the issue(s). Then prepare a list of things to discuss point by point. If you wish to do so, plan how much time you’ll spend discussing each point to ensure the meeting time limit is not exceeded. Distribute the agenda to the people at least one day before the call is going to take place and confirm that they’ve each received it.
Working through business problems that have been difficult to resolve takes a calm person who can go point by point through the issues to find the solution. Whether the problem is an interpersonal clash, a business goal that isn’t going like it was planned or something else, staying focused on finding a solution by talking to all the relevant parties is the only effective way to resolve it.