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The etiquette guide for a successful teleconference

The introduction of webinars, web conferences and webcasts has meant that the faithful teleconference has taken a bit of a backseat.

However, the original virtual conferencing technology is still going strong and even with the introduction of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) still has great appeal due to its reliability and constant improvements in functionality.

Of course, the one thing a teleconference does not offer is the ability to visually see meeting participants.

The question then is, does the lack of visual engagement mean that we are at risk of neglecting our manners and simple meeting etiquette?

Here are some simple etiquette tips for your next teleconference:

Set expectations
People always like to know what to expect. Sending an agenda will not only achieve this, it will avoid conversations going off track and will ensure that all parties are prepared!

Find a quiet place
Background noise can be very distracting to other participants. Be conscious of your surroundings… are you joining from home with a noisy dog in the background? Are you participating in the call from your car? Either way, ensure you find a quiet place where you will be comfortable for a certain period of time.

Identify yourself
Ever walked into a dinner party and gone straight for the food without saying hello to anyone? Just like a face to face event, it’s always polite to introduce yourself.

It may also be a good idea to activate a roll call feature on your teleconference. This means that all parties joining the call will have no choice but to announce their name on entry.

Use the mute command… appropriately!
Also known as “The God Feature,” the mute command during a teleconference gives you the power to silence one or many parties. As a moderator, ensure you let people know before you mute them and as a participant, ensure you do the same. The last thing you want is someone on the other end talking into thin air!

Hold that thought
Hold music can be annoying at the best of times, let alone when you have multiple people on a teleconference trying to have a conversation. If you have to leave a conference call for any period of time, hang up the phone and call back in when you are ready to re-join.

Thank you goes a long way
Let’s be honest, a teleconference isn’t exactly the most intimate of meetings. As a moderator, it’s a nice idea to send your participants a thank you email including any action items or discussion points which were covered in the meeting.

To many, punctuality is a sign of respect. Try to avoid dialling into the call late and expecting participants to provide you with a “catch up.”  This will not only disrupt the entire call, but it has the potential to come across as slightly rude.

Of course, for those who do like to mix it up a bit, there’s always the option to combine a teleconference with an interactive webcam… at the end of the day, it’s your call!

What do you think?

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Jeff Downs

Jeff Downs

Jeff Downs is an expert in conferencing technology and services. In 2007, he moved to Sydney with his family and established <a href="http://www.redbackconferencing.com.au/">Redback Conferencing</a>, a web, video and teleconferencing specialist provider.

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