Holding group teleconferences can be a powerful and productive way to share important information among team members and to learn new skills from industry experts. There are though some rules of teleconference etiquette to follow.
A teleconference is defined as an exchange of information among several individuals using telecommunication systems – generally a telephone line and/or computer hook up. For many women in business, teleconferences are becoming a monthly and sometimes even a weekly routine.
Teleconferences can have anywhere from a few people to hundreds of participants so here are some tips to ensure you’re a courteous contributor:
1. Call in five to ten minutes early to say hello, introduce yourself and become familiar with the facilitator’s protocol and teleconference agenda.
2. Listen carefully to your facilitator’s announcements and participation “rules” for this teleconference. It is up to you to be a polite participant.
3. If you have disruptive background noise, place yourself on “mute.” You can mute your own phone or the facilitator may place all the participants on mute.
4. Cell phones may create static on the teleconference line and it helps to eliminate this noise by placing your cell phone on mute. If possible, use a landline.
5. When participating in a question and answer session, announce yourself with your name. Don’t expect people to recognize and remember your voice.
6. If you are logging onto a teleconference that is already in progress, remain quiet until you have a chance to introduce yourself. If you have background noise, mute your phone.
7. Be polite and don’t interrupt the speaker.
8. If you want to ask a question, wait until an appropriate time to ask your question or break into the conversation.
9. Speak up and speak clearly. If it is a full teleconference it is sometimes hard to hear soft-spoken people.
10. Keep combative comments to yourself. Contact the facilitator after the call if you have questions or issues. Deal with your concerns after the teleconference has finished.
Teleconferences are a great way to form a sense of community with your team members and other like-minded women in business. Your role as a teleconference participant is to be a polite listener and participant.
In my opinion, it is no different than being in a “real” conference room with hundreds of other people – this conference room just happens to be on the telephone.
Please, share your thoughts and comments with us. We’d love to hear from you.
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