How to Chair a Conference Call

One Methods:Additional Conference Call Documents

Successfully leading a conference call gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to manage and direct others. Here are a few tips to make sure the call is successful while ensuring you present the best possible picture of yourself.


  1. Image titled Chair a Conference Call Step 1
    Schedule and plan. Be mindful of others' schedules when you decide on the time. If other attendees are in different areas, businesses, or time zones, make sure you are not interfering with their plans. Avoid lunch breaks, first thing in the morning calls, and calls that require an attendee to work after normal business hours.
  2. Image titled Chair a Conference Call Step 2
    Send out a meeting request. As soon as you’ve decided on a time, send a meeting request. This meeting request should include everything the attendees and participants will require to log into the call (call in number and password) and an agenda with topics that need to be discussed, including a list of responsibilities. The agenda should cover any questions or concerns you anticipate from other members. Focus on the positive aspects first, then cover challenges and offer solutions or ideas to overcome any obstacles you discuss.
    • Avoid using a client's or manager's conference bridge since logging in early may interrupt another call or cost your client money.
    • Any tasks you assign to someone else should be discussed before you send out the agenda. The last thing you want to do is tell a client or manager that someone else will have something, when you didn't ask that person to do the work yet.
  3. Image titled Chair a Conference Call Step 3
    Make a list of attendees, including where they are from and general personal information you have about them. You can use this to chat while you’re waiting on additional attendees to join.
  4. Image titled Chair a Conference Call Step 4
    Send a reminder email the day of the call if it is after lunch, or the day before if the call is scheduled in the morning. This will help make sure everyone arrives on time. You can also use this opportunity to send any reports or documents that will be needed on the call. If someone else created these materials, be sure to give them credit (or prevent blame from falling on you) by forwarding the message they sent to you containing the documents or saying “I’ve attached John’s report, which he will be walking through on the call”. It is your responsibility as the leader of the call to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that everyone has completed their responsibilities prior to the call.
  5. Image titled Chair a Conference Call Step 5
    Review any information you’ll be presenting.
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    Start the call. Be on time. Log on to the conference call 10 minutes early if possible. Some tools won’t let you log on until the time scheduled and others won’t let anyone communicate until a leader with a special password logs in. Be sure to test the bridge in advance if you are unfamiliar with the tool you’ll be using.
  7. Image titled Chair a Conference Call Step 7
    Usually, at least one person will be late, so have some notes handy to initiate small talk and avoid a long silence at the beginning of the call. Make sure all the attendees are introduced (name, title and the role they play) to anyone they are not familiar with, especially your clients. Start the call 3-5 minutes after the scheduled start time when possible, even if all attendees are not present.
  8. Image titled Chair a Conference Call Step 8
    Follow your agenda – you took the time to put it together, so follow it. Be sure you keep an eye on the clock as attendees may not be able to stay past the scheduled stop time. Be aware of the time needs of your presenters. It’s your job to make sure everything is covered.
  9. Image titled Chair a Conference Call Step 9
    Stay focused and take notes. Avoid using the mute button while others are speaking if possible. People in the office are less likely to interrupt you while you are on the call if you look like you’re involved. This is your opportunity to show how much you know about the topic you’re discussing. Don’t over promise and feel free to say you’ll get back to everyone with answers to questions you were not expecting.
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    At the end of the call, ask if anyone has questions and make sure they are answered or will be answered after the call. If a follow up meeting is needed, schedule this before anyone hangs up. Thank everyone for their time and wish them a good day or week(end).
  11. Image titled Chair a Conference Call Step 11
    Immediately after the call, create a recap and send it to all the participants. This recap serves two purposes: 1) it ensures everyone understands and has a list of their responsibilities and 2) it documents the conversation in writing in case there are any discrepancies later. You might find you're saved more than once by a good call recap. Remember to ask for corrections or adjustments to the recap if any are needed.
  12. Image titled Chair a Conference Call Step 12
    After the call, follow through! Be sure that you take action as discussed and answer any questions in a reasonable amount of time. If any deadlines were set, meet them. If work from other departments or employees was promised, be sure it is delivered.

Additional Conference Call Documents

Sample Letter Requesting Conference Call

Sample Conference Call Agenda

Sample Conference Call Reminder Email

Sample Conference Call Introduction


  • Here is a checklist covering the items you need for a successful call:
    • Schedule a good time for everyone, with consideration to the timezones of international participants.
    • Agenda
    • Meeting Invite or Request
    • Reminder email with any reports or documents
    • Small talk topics for the very beginning of the call
    • Titles, responsibilities and names of anyone that needs to be introduced
    • Call Recap
  • Don’t forget to:
    • Watch the clock
    • Take notes
    • Follow through
  • In a conference call, attendees tend to sit in the "back of the class". It is very difficult to get participation. Be proactive and ask questions of specific people. Instead of asking if anyone has any questions, ask a specific person relevant to the topic of discussion a question, i.e., "Bob, have you gotten all of the information you need to create the topic text?"


  • This article is not titled "how to run a successful call when you have no idea what you're talking about" or "how to address sensitive issues on a conference call."
  • You may want to remind attendees that they can use mute, but they should not put the call on "hold" during the meeting as this will most likely introduce very distracting music or advertisement to the conference call.

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