The Best Conference Call Ever.

March 12, 2011

Yesterday, I participated in the best conference call ever. It was for the PCMA Social Media Advisory Committee which is chaired my Michael McCurry. First, I need to say that most the participants that were on the call are close friends so we already had a great rapport. Second, we are all really passionate and opinionated people. Third, this was a kick-off call so we were all brimming with ideas.  This was a recipe for something amazing or a disaster. Thanks to Mike, it was amazing and extremely productive.

Before the call, Mike sent us a link to a Google Doc that he wanted us to use during the call. This online document allowed us to all add responses to certain questions simultaneously. It also allowed for sidebar conversations through the built-in chat feature.

As Chair, Mike took the lead and allotted time for discussing the various agenda items which resulted in a large amount of verbal participation. But, what I noticed was that, unlike many other calls, nobody was talking over anyone.  If someone had an idea, they simply jotted it down on the interactive document and then the other people were able to help to expand the ideas with their own written thoughts. If someone disagreed with someone else they took that conversation to the sidebar chat to talk it through.

This may seem like we all weren’t listening to every little thing that was being said. The truth is, we weren’t listening 100% with our ears, but we were listening. We were actively engaging with each other and creating ideas and solutions to achieve the goals of the committee. Ironically, the goal of the committee is to help their members better engage with each other so this little exercise was very valuable for us.

I walked away from the call feeling energized and yes, a little overwhelmed, but in a good way. The interactive nature of the call, combined with the energy of the committee members helped to make this the best conference call ever. I look forward to more calls of this nature and thank Mike for bringing in a much needed dynamic component.

When was the last time that you had a call where you were feeling a sense of accomplishment and excitement? Have you tried making it interactive? How would this be perceived in your organization?