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How to Conduct a Call Tree Test

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A call tree is a method of dependable communication between members of a group, such as employees of a business, volunteers with an organization or members of a school committee. You might use a call tree to respond to an emergency, prepare for a natural disaster, schedule an important meeting or perform routine business. Testing out the call tree should be done every six months to ensure smooth flow in time of crisis.

Photocopy and distribute call tree charts to all members of your organization at least one week before the call tree test. These charts should list members by name and all contact information. Add emergency telephone numbers and clarify who the call tree serves, such as a department in an organization or a volunteer database.

Prepare a memo to distribute with the call tree chart explaining the purpose of the call tree test and the procedure members must follow. Inform members to leave voice mail messages if they cannot reach someone live. Instruct members to keep the memo for future use.

Call the person or persons immediately below you on the list. Read off the designated instructions, which might include the purpose of the call (in this case, a test), the time and place of future meetings or other people on the list he was unable to reach. The listener should write down this information and repeat it back to the initiator before hanging up. The listener should also state aloud the names of the persons she will call.

Wait for the listener to call you back confirming she has spoken with those below her on the list. The listener will call everyone in her group and pass on the information she wrote down. She will also try to reach anyone that you were unable to reach. When all of her calls are made, she will call you back; those on her list will be calling the next level of call tree participants.

Check in via email the following day with all members of your organization to confirm successful completion of the call tree. If any members were unable to be reached at all, ensure you have their current contact information.


A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.

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