Tell us how you make conference calls less awful

Improving a necessary evil

Tired office worker slumped over a speakerphone

(Peter Dressel/Blend Images/Getty)

Our friends at are looking for your tips on how to make conference calls truly work for your business. Every issue, we—as in the new, combined PROFIT and Canadian Business—feature the “Crowdsourced” column, where readers chime in with real-world advice on issues affecting entrepreneurs. Conference calls tend to be a necessary evil for many of us, dragging out conversations that could be better covered in another medium. Still, there must be people doing it right out there, and we want to hear from you.

Here’s PROFIT senior editor Deborah Aarts with more:

Despite a list of competitors that’s growing every day—think: mass emails, online chats and such digital videoconferencing tools as Skype and Google Hangouts—the old-fashioned conference call doesn’t appear to be declining at all in popularity. In fact, it remains the communication method many entrepreneurs choose for everything from checking in with staff working remotely to communicating with suppliers overseas to updating investors (most public companies still choose to deliver quarterly results this way).

Yet few people will admit to enjoying a conference call. They tend to be dry, passive affairs (for most participants, at least). They also tend to go on and on, with one or two people talking while the rest hit “mute” and check their emails.

Over on LinkedIn, Elliott Weissbluth, CEO of financial services firm HighTower, has some ideas for improvements. Several service providers also have recommendations.

But we’re looking for your help, drawn from your experiences as an entrepreneur. What do you do to liven up a conference call? What tools do you use to keep communication seamless and efficient? What rules do you use to keep it from running long? What tactics do you employ to make sure it’s a good use of time for everyone on the line?

So head on over to ProfitGuide and spill all your conference call ninja secrets.