It cannot be stressed too strongly how essential agendas are in the conference call situation. Agendas are the engine of the meeting, they allow everybody to focus in advance and throughout the meeting and then serve as a useful memory aid when producing the minutes.
Follow the advice below and you will find that meetings run much more smoothly:
Always write the agenda well in advance of the meeting and then distribute the agenda to all participants well in advance and ask for comments and for any other items that could be included. (By asking for other items in advance you can prevent the meeting from being hijacked by unforeseen topics.)
Remind everybody of the contents of the agenda at the start of the meeting by going over each point and giving a short description of what you need to discuss. This process should start by discussing the overall objectives of the meeting to give the meeting a clear focus and direction
During the course of the conference call, stick to the points of the agenda as much as possible and think carefully before allowing ‘off agenda’ items to be introduced – remember that you have limited time available.
Keep returning to the agenda during the conference call to demonstrate progress and to help you summarize key issues during the meeting.