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Oops, Mind Your Teleconferencing Etiquette
Good manners is always appreciated anywhere and is a matter of common sense and consideration for others, combined. In the workplace, protocol remains basic despite the changing modes of doing business. So, do you know your teleconferencing etiquette?
Starting the conference
There is not much difference from the old-fashioned meeting procedures and the present practice for teleconferencing. As always, everybody should be on time and ready with their reports. It is unprofessional and inconsiderate to arrive late for meetings, and thatís exactly the same with teleconferencing.
If you are charged to facilitate a teleconference, do some tasks ahead. Part of your assignment is to prepare the venue and the equipment. For the venue, select a quiet place because background noise can be picked up by the speakerphones. While you are it, check the speakerphones if these are working, so these can be fixed or replaced days before the teleconference.
Proceed to prepare email messages. If it is the usual people meeting, you know who to inform through email the date and time of the teleconference. An omission is a costly mistake, as well as a slip of teleconferencing etiquette.
The information sent should include the agenda of the meeting. This will give the participants the time to arrange their schedules. Before the date, you call each of them reminding them of the meeting, as well as to give them the dial-in number and password.
On the Day of the Conference
Thereís nothing irritating like a late facilitator. Be an hour ahead of the appointed hour, enough time to give the venue a once over. You can also review your brief. The brief, pre-approved by the chairman, should contain instructions for all participants before the meeting is called to order.
Greet participants that come on line and when everybody is ready, read the instructions or announcements. Request the participants to mute their speakerphones until it is their turn to speak because a speakerphone can pick up the tapping of a pencil and paper shuffling. Such background noise can be distractive and a violation of teleconferencing etiquette.
During the Teleconference
During a conference call, do not interrupt unless the speaker is done talking. There are no visual prompters in a teleconference, so this teleconferencing etiquette must be observed.
Teleconferencing etiquette demands that those taking part in the teleconference should avoid making distracting noises, especially if their speakerphones are not on mute mode, and no calls should be put on hold while a discussion is going on.
Before the meeting ends, the Chairman should ask if there are other businesses to be taken up. This is your cue, as facilitator, that the agenda was already taken up. Thatís the reason why you should be all ears during the conference.
End of Teleconference
Announce that the meeting is over, so people will not linger waiting for further notice. Extra billing is charged if people still linger on their speaker phones; hence, your announcement that the meeting is closed. As facilitator, you must always be the last person to hang up because this is also part of your teleconferencing etiquette.
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