I was recently asked what the top 5 mistakes managers make. I think they all relate to meetings.
I ask you, how much of your time in meetings is really well used given the other priorities. My brother-in-law told me recently he spends the whole Monday in meetings and does absolutely nothing that brings revenue to the company or serves the customer.
So I would say the top 5 mistakes managers make all relate to letting meetings run them, instead of them running meetings.
1- Questioning the necessity of meetings that have been around forever. When people are at a meeting they are not doing a million other things. Time/Benefit of bringing people together must always be questioned.
2- No speaking order at a meeting. You need a speaking order otherwise the assertive personalities will dominate and the passive people drop out. Your eyes see from two different points of view and when your brain puts them together you see there dimensions. To have holographic thinking at a meeting requires everyone's participation.
3- No time limit for speaking at a meeting. A time limit needs to be established for any one moment addressing the group. Two minutes at the most. Otherwise some people will go on and on and on saying what they already said.
4- No visual recording of people's thoughts. Visual means you can see it. Everyone's point when speaking should be recorded on a flip chart or computer hooked up to a monitor. The difference between visual communication and auditory is visual remains over time and you can see totality.
5- No agenda. Everyone needs to know the agenda and each agenda item should tell the participant what is expected of them.
For more on this subscribe to my articles and the first two you will immediately receive are: "The Meeting Magic Process" and "The Art of the Agenda". You can get those here: http://rickbrinkman.com/enews/index.shtml
Also for tips specifically related to conference calls I refer you here: http://rickbrinkman.com/blog/category/organization/meetings/