How did your last teleconference go? It is with pleasure and convenience that everyone has embraced technologies for virtual meetings and the like. The usual complaints about traffic, transportation, and opportunity cost have been muted. In their place, however, are unruly behavior and chaos, which ensue when scores of people are on a call.
Truth be told, teleconferencing, in general, demands little from the attendees as compared to an in-person meeting. This convenience becomes a trap for others to think that they can act however they want minus video or audio evidence.
Well, good manners and conduct still dictate the success of any meeting, virtual or physical. All participants have to be on the same page on what needs to produce a meaningful session and not another time waster.
1. Respect Everyone’s Time
Join the meeting on the dot. Every attendee should be mindful of the consequences of showing up late. Most likely, the conference will be interrupted or extended beyond the time expected, setting back people’s plans for the day.
2. Set the Agenda
As the host, you are responsible for sending an invite with the points of discussion. If you can go send out more details like a six-page narrative in advance, the better. Participants will ask fewer questions, and not much time can be spent on them.
3. Stick to the Agenda
The meeting is going smoothly until point no. 6, when a participant interrupted to raise a point. It makes more sense to cover all aspects first and then open the floor for discussion later. Stick to a time limit for questions and concerns. For any unresolved issues, you can get back to the person after the meeting.
4. Know What to Do
Some meetings can really go to waste for lack of consensus and participation. To avoid this clueless scenario, read the meeting notes sent beforehand, confirm what is required of you, and prepare for that role.
5. Appear Dressed
Turning on the camera for a videoconference demands a well-groomed and neat appearance as you would appear in an in-person meeting. While it’s natural to focus only on the waist up, it’s certainly safer to dress all the way down, lest you are required to stand or move.
Stay firm, and don’t let your dog stop you from listening. It will save you time to ask questions that would have been answered. By actually posing irrelevant queries, you come off as the person who did not listen, not a good impression or image to have.
7. Kill the Distractions
You can’t listen and participate to the best of your ability if you are preoccupied. Disable push notifications on your phone, or better yet, hide your phone in the drawer. If you are using a laptop, you can turn off the mail notifications.
8. Eat before You Meet
Certain instances warrant you being mildly hungry. However, eating takes away your focus from the agenda. You don’t need to consume a full meal; a high-protein snack will give you energy.
9. Mute Yourself
Microphones can pick up the tiniest of noise in the background. Feedback like echo and static is relatively common. Make it a habit to mute your mic when not speaking. Muting your mic also ensures you don’t share excruciating information that doesn’t concern anyone in the call.
10. Test Your Tech
Test your equipment before the teleconference. Check your audio and microphone. Tweak the angle of your camera to look better. Should you run into tech issues during the event, don’t hesitate to inform the organizer or moderator.
11. Interrupt Not
Factoring in latency, you’d expect that audio will be delayed and cause you and another person to talk at once seemingly. Still, let others finish their piece. In conferences with lots of people, you can raise your hand by sending a message to the moderator or organizer.
12. Show What You Mean
It’s hard for people to understand what you are talking about unless you show your screen and point their attention to it. Screensharing takes out the guesswork and makes the presentation more stimulating.
13. Use Your Landline
Telephones are unbeatable when it comes to teleconferencing because of audio quality. With a number to call in plus the access code, you can join the conference through landline. Some phone systems are for conferencing as well as for a typical day in the office.
By adhering to a particular set of behavior during conference calls and meetings in general, you contribute to a productive and collaborative outcome. Of course, don’t forget to introduce yourself.
Salman is a prolific environmental writer, and has authored more than 500 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management, sustainability and conservation all over the world.
Salman can be reached on email@example.com