Schroeder's Ten Commandments of Teleconference
A lot of people are shifting to working from home and collaborating using video conferencing and telephone conferencing. Below are my Ten Commandments for success:
1. Be prepared and in place five minutes early.
We will start the meeting as soon as we have a quorum.
2. Call in from a quiet location.
Find the quietest place in your home or find a spot with excellent cell service near your home (turn off your car) to participate. Once you are admitted to the meeting and have introduced yourself, please mute your phone until it is time for you to speak. This will cut down on interference and background noise, especially when there are many people on the call.
3. Disable Call Waiting.
If you have Verizon or AT&T dial *70 then dial into the conference to temporarily disable call waiting. For other phones and carriers, you can Google for instructions.
4. Introduce yourself.
When admitted to the conference, state your full name so the Recording Secretary can record your attendance. After introducing yourself, please mute your phone.
5. Say your name before speaking.
So the minutes can be clear, please state your name. For instance, “Jane Doe, I make the Motion.” “Jack Smith, I second the motion.”
6. Prepare all the necessary documents beforehand.
Have the agenda and related documents available before the meeting starts.
7. Avoid side conversations and unnecessary talking.
Background noise will distract the other participants. The Chair must conduct the meeting and the recording secretary to prepare correct minutes that comments be kept to a minimum. The Chair may under new business ask each person to speak and share anything they feel needs to be discussed. For the success of the meeting, comments must be on point.
Effective teleconference communication is more like being before Judge in Court than in a traditional in-person meeting.
8. Be Patient
Productive conversation in a teleconference is slower than in person. To avoid people talking over each other, there needs to be longer pauses. There will likely be several times where the Chair or secretary will need to clarify the record or have someone repeat themselves.
9. Avoid using your phone.
Do not use apps, check email, or put the call on hold to make another call during the meeting. Placing a call on hold will sometimes create feedback for the other participants.
10. Pay attention and be active.
It is more challenging to follow a teleconference meeting discussion than in-person meetings. Set aside distractions and take notes of anything you want to discuss during the new business, or if your issues can be better addressed in an email to someone after the meeting, write down the topic for follow up later.
Teleconferences are a useful tool for getting business done. It takes a little practice and patience to make these meetings effective and productive. Thank you for being flexible as we work together to get the business of the organization done.
For Video Conference, I will add an eleventh commandment: WEAR PANTS!