Golden Rules for Teleconferencing

This is a quick summary of issues to think about when conference calls

  • Think about the timing of the conference call – and if possible consult about this as widely as possible.
  • If people have to be inconvenienced because of time zone differences, make sure it is not always the same people who are inconvenienced.
  • Make sure that you appear as flexible on the timing issue as possible.
  • Take the responsibility (in advance) for ensuring that the technology you need is available and working.
  • Try to ensure the conference call takes place in a quiet location away from any background noise.
  • It is important to let people know the conference call agenda well in advance as this allows people to get together the information they need.
  • The agenda will help the conference call leader control the conference call and make sure that there are not too many ‘new’ ideas introduced.
  • Non-native speakers benefit from being able to think about the issues in advance – it can help them to formulate their responses in the language of the conference call.
  • The agenda can form the basis from which minutes of the meeting are produced.
  • The conference call leader needs to keep an eye on the agenda and try to structure the meeting so that everybody knows what is happening.
  • It is important that everybody is encouraged and allowed to contribute during the conference call.
  • The conference call leader should use names as much as possible to ensure everybody knows exactly who is speaking.
  • If it becomes apparent that some people have not understood a point, the conference call leader should go over that point again to help comprehension.
  • It is important to summarize and note all decisions as they are made so that there is no confusion after the call.
  • At the end of the meeting the conference call leader should go over all the main points in a clear and succinct manner to avoid future disagreements.

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