Not your typical phone call
Teleconferences are a great way to connect to people around the world. They’re less expensive than face-to-face meetings, often take less time, and solve problems more efficiently than emails do. Conducting a teleconference should be easy. All you have to do is connect everyone on the phone and make decisions as if you were all in person, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. A teleconference is not your average phone call. It is a meeting and needs to be prepared for as such. Below are some key points to help you remember that a teleconference isn’t your typical phone call.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND FOR A TELECONFERENCE
Teleconferences aren’t difficult to carry out, but many people are not mentally prepared when joining. Having the awareness, through the 3 main points below, that your telecon is not just a normal call is a great start.
- Send out an agenda beforehand with objectives, time(length) of call, participants, and specific results you want to achieve.
- Identify roles: moderator, minute taker, etc. Remember, ideally the moderator and minute taker will be two separate people. Also, just because someone sent out the Outlook invitation, doesn’t mean they are automatically the moderator. Make it clear before the call.
- The moderator should ensure that the call starts on time, not too much time is spent on certain topics, and the call allows for everything to be covered within the designated time
- The moderator should also open and close the call in an official way. Open: state the objectives and goals and introduce people if needed. Close: review the action items identified and what the next steps are.
- The moderator should make an effort to include everyone on the call as best they can with pointed, open questions directed at specific people. This will encourage and facilitate participation.
- Everyone should participate by being prepared to say something for each item. (You may not say something for each point, but you should be prepared to do so.)
- Ask questions if you are not sure of something
- Speak naturally in the direction of the microphone
- Identify yourself when speaking (if necessary)
- Pause occasionally so others may make comments
- Try not to talk over others and interrupt by using polite phrases
More tips on teleconferences?
You might enjoy reading Chad Phillip’s post: Teleconference tips and phrases. The simple and practical checklists in our latest Ebook: The ultimate book of virtual teams checklists may also be of interest to you.
How effective is your virtual team?