As 2016 begins, businesses in Serbia and the rest of Europe will be tallying profits and losses, and planning ahead. As part of that planning, many financial officers will be looking for new and improved ways to cut costs in the coming year. Many will discover that effective way to cut costs will be to increase the number of conference calls, while cutting the number of in-person meetings.
Businesses that communicate regularly via conf call from providers like Blue Jeans or some other large conference call provider, know that the money they save has a significant impact on their bottom lines.
One of the biggest expenses most companies incur is from travel. In the days before the Internet, we had no choice but to travel where needed to meet face-to-face with our colleagues. Now, that not only isn’t necessary, it is practically obsolete. Conference calling allows us to still meet with the people we need to, just not in the same room.
Traveling through Europe is not as difficult as it used to be. It is, however, fraught with inconvenience. Despite having many short-haul airlines to choose from, travel can still be a logistical nightmare. There are delays, security issues, and many fees involved. Moreover, you don’t really save any money, even with the short-haul carriers, when you book a flight at the last minute.
The telecommunications giant, ShorTel, lists reducing travel expenses as its top reason for using conference calls. Whether you’re communicating with company employees in offices in different locations, or with prospective customers in a different country, it is no longer necessary to do it in person. A conference call is an easy substitute, and you are not sacrificing any quality. If anything, conference calls improve productivity.
Now that we’ve established that conference calls reduce expenses and eliminate the stress of business travel, it is time to reveal that cost-effectiveness is only one small part of the appeal of conference calls. BioSci Consulting has found that conference calls are an effective way to increase productivity and solve problems more effectively. Companies are learning that fostering collaboration between employees doesn’t necessarily need to take place in person. In fact, collaboration can be even more effective on a conference call.
When employees meet in person, there are an infinite number of ways they can become distracted. On a conference call, their attention remains focused, and they are more inclined to get the job done in a much more efficient manner. Collaborative efforts are greater when everyone is focused for shorter periods of time. A one-hour conference call can yield better results than a meeting that takes place over the course of an entire day.
Practical Advice For Successful Conference Calling
Not all conference calls will be successful if the participants aren’t all on the same page. Here are a few tips that will ensure that things get done:
- Pay Attention: Conference calls force you to focus; it is difficult to multi-task when you are taking part in one.
- Set an Agenda: Set a specific agenda and stick to those points.
- Appoint a Leader: Make sure someone is in charge of the call.
- Record Decisions: Keep a record of all actions that have been decided upon.
- “Do It Now”: If any actions can be completed immediately, take care of them; don’t let them languish.
- Don’t Veer Off Topic: Always keep the conversation focused on the topics at hand. Veering off topic will allow participants to get distracted.
- Don’t Interrupt: Interrupting colleagues sidetracks the collaborative effort
- Try to End the Call Early: Ending the call earlier than scheduled will make everyone feel like they accomplished what they set out to without going over the allotted time period.
- Review Minutes Immediately After: reviewing the minutes from the call will reinforce the ideas that were exchanged, and allow you to get to work more quickly.
- Follow Up With Colleagues: Be helpful and remind others of what needs to be done.
Once employees become used to the culture of successful conference calling, they will not miss meeting with others face-to-face; in fact, many now say they prefer this type of meeting, and are more in-tune with their tasks.
The British business consulting firm, Frost and Sullivan, has found that the popularity of conference calls throughout Europe has benefited everyone.
“The low cost of conferencing solutions is a particular attraction for end users in the European market, which is still recovering from the recent economic downturn,” the company says. They predict that video conferencing will experience double-digit growth over the next few years, reaching record high usage by 2019.