Many conference calls which have been effectively managed up to this point are ruined by a poor close to the meeting. The closing of the meeting is as important as the opening of the meeting and needs to be actively led by the conference call leader.
Firstly, when you feel the conference call has covered the necessary content, refer back to the original objectives you set for the meeting and determine if you feel those objectives have been met. If they have, inform the participants that this has been a productive conference call because those objectives have been met. If you feel the objectives have only been partially met then any outstanding issues need to acknowledged and put forward to the next meeting.
It is highly likely that the conference call will have thrown up some action points and these action points need to be reiterated and re-emphasized at the close of the meeting. Many conference call leaders get this phase badly wrong.
Never tell people what their action points are – they just agree and you have no idea whether they have really understood exactly what they are supposed to do. It is far better if the conference call leader asks the person to repeat out loud what they believe their action point to be. By getting people to do this, you then have a clear understanding of their understanding of the point and by asking them to repeat it to the whole group, it makes them more obviously accountable for the completion of the task.
Finally, thank all the delegates for their participation, tell them when they can expect to receive the notes and any follow up information and agree the date and time for the next conference call if necessary.