If you think scheduling a conference call is easy, then you may be in for a surprise the first time you are instructed to get four to ten people on a line for a phone meeting. While getting two or even three people to sync their schedules is difficult enough, when you try to get a bunch of busy individuals together it can prove frustrating and nearly impossible. Fortunately, by taking a systematic approach to the issue, you can generally simplify the process for yourself and everyone else dramatically.
Start out by doing some personal analysis of the people on the call. In your experience, who is the hardest to get in touch with? Who can the meeting absolutely not run without if they cancel? Try to get a feel for the priority of the meeting members, and structure your actions accordingly. For example, if you must have the president of the company in attendance, then you will likely want to start with him or her, and then move downward from there.
Set a date and an alternate date. Do not offer the alternate date up front. Simply call the various participants or their assistants and find out who can make the date and time. Remember that there may be different time zones involved. Once you have an idea of whether the date and time are going to work, then you should touch base with the person who originally scheduled the call to determine if the absence of one or two people will mean that the call cannot move forward. In most cases, as long as key players are present the rest of the people on the call are considered to be flexible.