With the introduction of web conferencing and video conferencing, the good old teleconference has lost its appeal. But is that fair?
Sometimes the original is still the best. Think Coke.
Teleconferencing technology is a highly useful and valid tool for connecting people in disparate locations. Using quality telephone lines, not VoIP, is the best way to guarantee an excellent conference call – no dropouts, disconnections or scratchy lines.
Of course, the one thing a teleconference does not offer is the ability to actually see other meeting participants. But does this lack of visual engagement mean that we are at risk of neglecting our manners and usual meeting etiquette? It shouldn’t.
Take a look at these 7 simple tips for good teleconference etiquette:
Have an agenda
Setting expectations around the meeting is important in helping participants to feel comfortable. People like to know what to expect and having an agenda helps to achieve this. Sending a meeting schedule with key points to be covered prior to the meeting will avoid conversations going off track and will ensure that all parties are prepared with questions or appropriate input.
Find a peaceful place
Before you dial a number, ensure you are located somewhere quiet with no distractions. Turn your mobile off, put the dog in the backyard, close the meeting room door. Background noise is very distracting and discourteous.
Be on time and ready to roll - don't be making a coffee or checking emails. As a host or a guest, you need to show respect to fellow attendees by dialling in on time and being ready to engage in the conversation. Do not expect others to provide you with a ‘catchup’ – it is disruptive to all and will spoil the flow of the discussion.
As with any face to face meeting or event, make sure you introduce yourself at the beginning of the meeting. It’s rude to start talking without everyone being aware of who is on the call. As the Host, your teleconference service should allow you to activate a roll call. This means that all participants will have their name announced as they join; alternatively, the host can initiate a roll call once everyone is in conference.
A teleconference host has access to features that allow the conference to run smoothly. The mute command is one of these. Participants can be silenced individually at any time during a teleconference. Otherwise, settings can be arranged to mute all participants as they enter the conference. As the host however, ensure you let people know before you mute them and as a participant, make sure you do the same. The last thing you want is someone on the other end talking into thin air.
Hang up rather than hold
If you have to leave a conference at any point before it’s finished, make sure you hang up the phone rather than put the line on hold. You don’t want hold music being pumped into the conference for everyone to hear! Dial back in when you are ready.
Pleases and thank you’s
Common courtesy and manners should be par for the course in meetings, and no less so in a teleconference. Just because you can’t see someone, doesn’t mean you don’t have to be nice! As the host, it’s a good idea to send your participants a thank you email and any action items or follow up points from the meeting soon after the teleconference is finished.
Learn more about teleconferencing with Eureka Conferencing.