The whole point of your conference calls with remote team members is to set aside time for productive, efficient communication--which is why note-taking or the keeping of "meeting minutes" is so important.
WHY TAKE MEETING NOTES:
You'll begin to get a better sense of your team. By noting who comes up with the ideas, who is accomplishing goals and who is meeting deadlines, you'll be better prepared to delegate work, assess payment for services and even decide whose contracts shouldn't be renewed. You may notice things looking over the minutes of your conference calls that you'd never have time to process in "real time."
You'll be able to keep those who missed the meeting in the loop. The bigger your team, the more likely one or two will be unavailable for any given call. When you've got minutes, these people can have access to everything important that they missed in the meeting.
You'll have a paper trail. In this day and age, we frequently rely on our emails as proof of correspondence, but when it comes to calls we've got nothing to prove the facts of the conversation or remind us of nitty gritty details. Having minutes from your conference calls is a vital piece of your remote team management that you can't afford to be without.
WHAT TO DO:
Use a conference call service that allows you to record your calls.This is a valuable tool you don't want to be without. Having the technology to go back and re-listen to a call or even have it transcribed may be invaluable in a crisis, such as the loss of original notes or the loss of a contractor. (Note: Many providers only save one call at a time, so be mindful of downloading the audio before the next call records over it.)
Be sure that precise minutes are taken on your regularly scheduled conference calls.For most employers, taking the notes themselves is second-nature -- after all, you are the one who knows what's important for future reference. On the other hand, the bigger your team, the harder it may be for you to manage the agenda and keep the minutes of discussion. In these times, recruit someone else (with the right skills) to take notes.
Get a copy of the minutes filed and sent out to your team. Ideally, you should get the minutes to those on the call within 24 to 48 hours. This will reinforce the communication you've just had regarding vital details like deadlines, ideas, costs and announcements. What's more you'll have a copy to review yourself, and add important dates to your own calendar.
Are you in the habit of keeping and/or sending out minutes after phone conferences? Tell us why or why not and how your system is working for you.