The growing popularity of remotely located teams has companies relying more heavily on virtual meetings for collaboration and communication. Having staff abide by standard rule sets can keep remote meetings efficient and productive. Below are a few tips for leaders and organizations to ensure proper etiquette on every conference call:
Begin with introductions
Even when a video conference is part of the process, not everyone may be visible on the screen. Every person involved should introduce themselves and, if multiple locations or companies are represented, say where they work. This ensures other individuals can appropriately address the audience on the call. Ask everyone on calls to reiterate their names when they speak; everyone might not be able to tell voices apart.
Send invites and documents ahead of time
Whoever schedules the meeting should send invites as soon as possible. Conference line information should be sent the day before, but certainly more than a few hours before. Sending conference line information at the last minute can confuse participants and delay the start of the meeting. Send meeting-relevant documents 24 hours or more ahead of the meeting, and use document types everyone can access, such as PDF or Word files.
Encourage participation from everyone
During the discussion, the person leading the call should encourage participation from everyone. Individuals on the phone can’t signal physically that they want to speak, and if no natural lulls occur in the conversation, they can’t jump in. Call leaders must ask associates to weigh in. They can say things like:
• “Sue, do you have anything to add here?”
• “Does anyone have something more to say about A?”
• “Let’s stop a second and consider this detail. Do we have other perspectives on it?”
Minimize background noise
Ensure everyone knows to put their phone on mute unless they are speaking. Remind all callers not to put the call on hold, as that means everyone will hear any hold music or messaging.
Follow-up is key
Following conference call and or web meetings, the leader of the call or a predetermined participant should send a recap with notes and follow-up items to all parties to continue productive communication.
Remote meetings are very common today. They reduce travel expenses, drive efficiencies and can capitalize on geographically diverse workforce’s.
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