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7 ways to run a teleconference ??" and 6 ways not to

Published on February 07, 2020

With planning and some attention to detail, a teleconference can be efficient and truly beneficial.

In the modern workplace, hours are flexible, employees can work remotely and teleconferences are inevitable. So how do you get the best from teleconferencing? 

Teleconferences may be necessary, but they are often approached with dread. Will the technology work for the entire meeting? Will those dialing in feel they have a chance to participate? How does the chair prevent people speaking over each other? With planning and some attention to detail, a teleconference can be efficient and truly beneficial. 

Professionals in the US spend an average of 38 minutes in a teleconference, with 13 of those minutes wasted on unnecessary interruptions and distractions, according to research by London-based meeting software provider LoopUp Group.  

If a third of each teleconference meeting is wasted, that is a significant hidden cost.   

6 problems with teleconferences

The common pitfalls of teleconferences include:

  • Participants who come late
  • Participants who haven’t read the agenda
  • Chairs not sending a clear agenda early enough
  • Chairs not managing the meeting well, allowing participants to talk over each other 
  • A lack of follow-up afterwards
  • Technology malfunctioning 

However, these can be avoided. 

Top tips for teleconferences:

  • Find a time that suits everyone. A time that suits you may be 2am for someone else. Perhaps two meetings are necessary. You can use an online scheduling tool such as Doodle
  • Send out a clear, detailed agenda. The agenda should include the aim of the meeting, a guide to participants and what is expected of them, and other key outcomes being sought.
  • Welcome each person as they come on the line, introduce yourself and state who else is already online. This will also serve to bring everyone’s attention to the meeting.
  • Ask each person to give their name when they start to speak and remind participants not to jump in when someone is speaking – this seems even more rude when you can’t see the person you are interrupting.
  • If someone has been quiet, invite them specifically to present their opinion. Do not assume that silence indicates agreement. A key element of a successful meeting is ensuring everyone has had a chance to contribute.
  • At the end of the discussion, thank everyone for participating and try to end on a positive note. People are busy and like to feel that their contribution has been appreciated. 
  • While waiting for everyone to arrive, some small talk helps build rapport before getting into thesubstance of the meeting. You may have heard news from someone’s country – ask them about it or express solidarity or condolence. Or you can talk about the weather. Just warm the discussion up.

(Source:  AICPA – CPA Letter Daily - IntheBlack – January 15, 2020)