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Strategies for Planning Weekly Conference Calls

written by: Francine Richards • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 9/25/2010

Learn what to consider as a project manager when planning weekly conference calls including steps in the planning.

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    Project Management and Weekly Conference Calls

    Many project managers hold weekly conference calls with members of the internal team working on the projects they are managing. They may also have a weekly call with stakeholders or clients to provide status updates on the project. Planning weekly conference calls takes thought, consideration and research to determine the agenda and the goals of the call to maximize the effectiveness of the call as a communication vehicle.

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    Weekly Conference Calls Are Effective Project Management Communication Tools

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    Goals of the Conference Call

    Why have weekly conference calls? When planning your weekly conference call, determine the goals you want to accomplish on the call. Your goal may be information seeking, when you obtain updates from the team members working on your projects. Another goal may be to share information between team members who may not talk often. A primary goal may be to share milestone status updates, project plan changes and timeframes with project sponsors and clients and answer any questions they may have about the project. The goals of your call may depend on the audience of your call, so consider the participants, what you will need from them and to the information you wish to provide to them on the call.

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    Logistics and Planning the Conference Call

    A professional weekly conference call should not have technical glitches. Prepare by obtaining a conference call-in number, login information and web meeting details several days in advance of your call. Test the numbers and links in advance of your call to assure they are accurate and work properly.

    Plan the date of your weekly calls at a time and day that most of your participants will be free. Consider time zones of your attendees when setting up a meeting time and check invitees calendars if available. If not, contact invitees and their assistants directly with some suggested days and times to see if these will work for them. Set up your weekly meeting as reoccurring so they occur at the same day and time each week.

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    Conference Call Agenda and Attachments

    Once you have determined what you want to accomplish from your weekly conference call, it’s time to create a formal agenda.Consider standing agenda items such as milestone status, functional business area status, project plan review and next steps. Solicit agenda topics from meeting invitees and company leadership, team members and clients. Plan how long you should spend on each topic and leave time at the of each call open for questions. Send out an agenda and accompanying attachments such as a project plan or status report at least one to two days prior to the meeting to allow for time for participants to review in advance and prepare for the call. Include conference call number and login information on each agenda and send call-in instructions with the meeting invite and agenda.

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