One idea out there is to take a Twitter-like approach to calls and meetings – keep it short, to the point and relevent. 140 characters may not work but these ideas might help:
- Always have an agenda and keep to it
- Set ground rules for asking questions, changing topics, adding comments
- Ask participants to prepare in advance on specific topics
- Stay on task and on time – most meetings meet their expiration at 1 hour
Maybe the best advise is to reconsider having that meeting or conference call. If the meeting doesn’t solve a problem or improve a situation, why have it at all?
There’s a good article on this topic, “Why Conference Calls Should be More Like Twitter” from the Incidental Economist. Maybe short and sweet could work for you. Take a quick read and see if it doesn’t influence how you manage conference calls and group communication.