How’s your shorthand? And your hearing? And your memory? Unless you can answer “perfect” for all three, sooner or later you’re going to want to know how to record a conference call. This is where to start.
If nothing happens during a conference call that’s worth noting or remembering, then it wasn’t a conference call worth having. So let’s assume that all your conference calls are worthwhile, conducted to a well-planned and packed agenda, and that you and everyone else taking part needs to have an accurate record of what was said. That’s where recording an audio conference plays a vital role.
Of course you can try to take notes at the time, or have someone else on hand to do it for you. But unless you or they have immaculate 80 words-per-minute shorthand, it’s almost impossible to keep up to speed with the discussion without missing something. Even if you or they manage the pace, will you be able to read the high-speed scrawl afterwards? And how can you be sure that handwritten – or even typed – notes are actually an accurate record of conference calls? It’s easy to mishear or misunderstand what was said, and hard to note everything down exactly as it was said.
So recording an audio conference is clearly the most efficient way to gather and keep accurate information. Though that’s not its only advantage.
When you know how to record a call using an app, the biggest benefit will be that you can create a true record of the call with minimum effort. However, it also has several other important benefits.
Firstly, it’s a great help for you or whoever would otherwise be taking notes – simply because you don’t have to any more. It’s almost impossible to do note-taking well and play a useful part in the conference call itself at the same time. And even if a written record of the call is essential, making a transcript of the recording when the conference call has ended will leave you free to make a proper contribution while the call is taking place.
Another benefit of recording your conference calls is in the quality of the discussion during the calls. Some conference call commentators observe that participants who are being recorded behave differently as a result. It may not be a conscious effort on their part, but they tend to be more focussed and less gossipy, which helps to make these meetings more productive and shorter too.
Lastly, there’s a benefit for those not even on the call – though they should be.
However carefully you schedule your call, someone may have to pull out of the call at the last minute. With a recording, there’s no need for a time-consuming post-call debrief which might miss out essential information or include some unconscious bias. There’s also no chance of misinterpreting Minutes and missing subtle nuances which the written record can’t show. The call recording is the next best thing to being there.
One last thing before you press “record”: you may be wondering if what you are about to do is actually legal.
The fact is, call recording has always been subject to the law. Because a recording is classified as data, it’s always been part of the deal that anyone being recorded has to be told it’s happening, and why. But now that recording your calls is covered by GDPR, the requirements have changed – and so have the potential fines. So it’s important you get it right.
In most cases of recording your calls for business, the most relevant point is that you must get the consent of the people taking part. In the past it was enough simply to tell them it was happening. Now you must have their explicit consent – though it can still be verbal. You also have to treat recordings of your calls like any other data under GDPR: store them securely; have security controls in place to prevent access by unauthorised individuals; and when the recordings are no longer needed, dispose of them securely.
Drawing up a specific recording policy is a requirement of GDPR, so it’s important to work out and write down all the relevant measures for all your conference calling requirements, and then follow them to the letter every time. Sooner rather than later they’ll become second nature.
So there you have it. The four main benefits of recording your conference calls: efficiency, accuracy and productivity. There’s one missing, you say?
You’re right. It must be ‘playback’.