Believe it or not, team conference calls CAN be productive
This is a guest-authored post from Brandon Guillory, Admissions Counselor at Louisiana State University. #GeauxTigers!
As a team of recruiters for Louisiana State University (LSU), we are distributed across the country and constantly on the go in search of next year’s freshman class. Each of us is part salesperson, marketer, event manager and project manager. Even for inherently social people working in a social discipline, the nature of our job — and how and where we do it — means that staying connected and in-sync requires great intention.
Once a week, all 20 of us come together on a team conference call. We discuss the status of our activities, upcoming events and milestones. In terms of technology, we’ve tried all the usual suspects to make this effective — the conference bridge, Skype and more. Sadly, we’ve also encountered all the usual issues:
- Frantic dial-ins, repeated beeps and other audible interruptions.
- Many minutes spent figuring out who’s there, who’s not, and whether it’s okay to start the actual meeting.
- Poor audio quality and frequent disconnections, particularly for team members who are mobile.
- Confusion about who’s speaking at the moment. It might be obvious in a small team, but with a team of 20 it’s tough to know who’s talking, making it hard to direct questions or follow-up.
- It’s often not possible for everyone to be on the conference call. People may miss the meeting for any number of reasons — e.g. they’re at an event, with a recruit, or needing to pick kids up from school. These people fall out of sync with the rest of the team, with no way to get caught up other than follow-up conversations or lengthy meeting minutes.
As any recruiter knows, having a personal, human connection has a massive impact on the success of working with others, and as my peers can attest — we like to talk! We knew there had to be a better way.
This past fall, our team discovered Talko. It has since become a permanent fixture in the way we operate and stay connected. Here’s why:
- It’s drop-dead simple to start a team conference from your mobile phone — no more dial-ins.
- There’s never a question about who’s there or who’s talking. Talko lets you know at a glance.
- Voice sounds crystal clear and works really well on all types of mobile networks. We experience far fewer quality issues than we did before.
- The fact that all conference calls are recorded ensures everyone can stay in sync, even those team members who miss the LIVE call. Our conferences tend to last 30–60 minutes, but often times there are a few discrete points where a decision is made or action items identified. Talko lets us “bookmark” those moments so that anyone who missed the call can come in later and very quickly get up to speed on the most important matters.
The bottom line is that Talko has made our team meetings more productive. It’s also made them more fun — the unique mix of talking, showing and texting in a conference provides such a simple way to work together on recruitment collateral or campaign themes. Honestly, I never expected to claim that weekly conferences are fun, but since adopting Talko our team actually now looks forward to our weekly calls. Just last week, one of our recruiters was traveling internationally but made the time to join the call. Speaking from across the globe, he sounded like he was in the same room!
I’ve seen another, far more personal benefit to using Talko. I am rather new to the team and based in Washington, D.C. Not being on campus in Baton Rouge could easily be an isolating experience. But being able to actually hear everyone and attach names and faces to voices has helped me get to know my team better and faster; in a way that email, text, or basic phone calls simply couldn’t. It’s not just the quality of voice conferences in Talko, but also the way people share their visual surroundings with photos. It really does feel like we’re all together even though, physically, many of us are distributed and mobile.
The team is communicating more effectively since we discovered Talko. While I can’t say there’s a direct tie, we’ve seen better team performance! Talko has become a staple in how our team works together — we’re very appreciative. I honestly don’t know what we would do with out it.