Article Summary:How to effectively manage a teleconference call.
Even a well-planned teleconference can go poorly. Some people treat any meeting as a casual social activity instead of as a serious business project. And a teleconference brings special challenges because people attend them in the privacy of their office without being able to see or be seen by the other participants.
Use these techniques to hold a more effective meeting by phone.
1) Begin with a quick round of self introductions so that everyone can find out who is present and hear everyone else's voice.
2) Enforce the rule of "one speaker at a time." Multiple conversations ruin a teleconference.
3) Insist that people announce when they join or leave the conference.
4) If people must leave during the meeting, gain closure on any issues that they participated in before they leave. For example, "Pat agreed to prepare a cost estimate by next Monday. Is that correct, Pat?" Make adjustments in the agenda (if appropriate) based on the remaining participants.
5) Keep everyone focused on the issue being discussed. If someone introduces an idea that seems unrelated, say, "That sounds interesting. How does that relate to the issue?"
6) Record the conference. First, this will help you prepare minutes. And second, it encourages people to make meaningful comments. Of course, you should announce that you are recording the meeting before you start.
7) State your name each time that you speak. This helps everyone know that you are speaking.
8) If you are speaking on your desk phone, use the handset instead of the speakerphone. A speakerphone, while useful, distorts your voice, picks up background sounds (like office equipment), and makes a poor impression on the listener. If you must have both hands free while you talk, obtain a headset. Note: It is more courteous to speak to people through the handset (instead of the speakerphone) on any phone call.
9) Speak clearly to make sure that you are understood. Take the extra effort to enunciate carefully and speak slowly. Of course, you want to sound natural.
10) When stating numbers, write them out while you speak because that defines the rate at which everyone else is capturing them.
Steve Kaye, author and IAF Certified Professional Facilitator, helps leaders hold effective meetings. His facilitation produces results that people will support, and his innovative workshops have informed people nationwide. Call 714-528-1300 or visit his web site for over 130 pages of valuable ideas. Sign up for a free newsletter at www.stevekaye.com.