Management Articles


 

How to Conduct Your Telemeeting, Teleconference or Teleclass

By: Susan Dunn

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, coaches individuals and executives in emotional intelligence, and offers workshops, presentations, trainings, Internet courses and ebooks.  She is a regular presenter for the Royal Caribbean and Costa cruiselines.  Visit her on the web at www.susandunn.cc and mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for FREE ezine.

More and more entrepreneurs and businesses are turning to the affordable and efficient use of teleconferences for meetings, classes and training. Everyone calls in to a dedicated bridge line at the appointed time and there is no need to get together in person. You can imagine the time and money this saves.

Whether you conduct your own, or pay a coach to conduct one for you, here are some things to keep in mind:


The Advantages

Teleconferences save time and money. Participants don’t have to go anywhere; they simply pick up the phone and dial in. This can save hours out of a person’s day.

You don’t have to pay the transportation for a speaker, and there are no refreshments or equipment to arrange and no facility to book. The logistics are minimal. You can see the advantages already.

Teleconferences also expand your choice of presenters. You can choose the best person for the job – internationally – not just the best person in your town, or someone whose transportation you can afford to pay.

People taking teleconferences can be exceptionally comfortable and receptive because they can be in their own home or office. There are few distractions such as there would be in any room, where your mind can wander as you look around, hear announcements, have someone else get up to leave for the restroom, or watch staff coming and going. Teleconference allow for total focus.


The Disadvantages

Not everyone is experienced or skilled in what it takes to conduct a meeting or training over the telephone. It’s important to book a coach or trainer with experience in teleconference work. You cannot see the participants faces to read their expressions or receive feedback, so thepresenter must know how to work around this.

Why? The other day I spent the morning with a friend working on a joint project which involved meeting somewhere, then driving to the next place. As we got into the car for the drive, she told me she would have to dial in to a telemeeting, but not to worry, we could keep working. She dialed in, put her phone on mute, and continued the conversation with me. She un-muted at the end of the hour to
sign off.

The astute teleconference or telemeeting conductor knows how to make the call interactive enough so that participants
must stay tuned in, engaged, and actively participating.

If you’re working internationally, you also have to consider time zones, and there are some localities that can’t be
worked in, day or night. In that case, you will have to have two separate sessions.

Here are some things you need to know:
  1. You can rent teleconference bridge lines for free or for little cost.

  2. Start with a free one and see if you like it. Here are three places you can try:
    Take one of the basic training courses in teaching by telephone on the Internet. Here is one: www.teleclassinternational.com/main2/training.html.

  3. Then work with a coach for individualized instruction so you can perfect the general knowledge you receive from the standardized training.

  4. Have your coach sit in on your first couple of teleconferences to give you feedback.

  5. Sit in on some free teleclasses yourself to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s an excellent way to learn. Here is one source: www.teleclass.com.

  6. Send a list of procedures to participants each time until you have worked with the same group for a while. This should include such things as:
    • Call from a landline and be on time.
    • Announce yourself when you enter the call, and each time you make a comment.
    • Don’t hog airtime. Let others speak.
    • Call from a quiet location – no dogs, machines, people talking, or children. Others need to be able to hear what’s going on. Put the phone on mute if need be.
    • Be courteous to the instructor and to the others on the call.
    • Keep your comments relevant to the task at hand and things that would be helpful to others.
    • Announce when you are leaving the call.
    Let your participants know how you want to handle questions. Are they welcome all along, or will there be a Q&A time at the end?

    Also inform them if this will be primarily lecture, or participatory. This will allow them to prepare their mindset.

    Any information you can give ahead of time will be appreciated, and will optimize the value of the meeting or seminar, just as you would send a hardcopy agenda within your office.

  7. During the teleconference, check in with participants from time-to-time, using their names.

    Say, “Mary what do you think about this?” or “John, would you like to make a comment?”

    This assures people stay with you on the call, and also allows you to get the feedback you can’t get because you can’t see the participants. You can’t tell if you’re boring them on the telephone, or losing their interest, unless you ask.

  8. End by going around the virtual “room” asking each participant to tell you what they will take with them.

    This assures everyone stays on for the duration of the call, and stays invested. It also gives you the feedback you  need to see if you have made the points you meant to, and how to correct on future teleconferences.

  9. Ask participants for feedback at the end of the call, or to let you know by email. You want to know how to improve in the future.

  10. There are advantages to paying for a bridge line. Here are some:
    • They may be more reliable, though I have never had trouble with a free bridge line.
    • They may allow you to record the call so you can sell the recorded version later, or send it to those who missed the meeting. Also for your own feedback.
    • You can put guests on mute if need be.
    • They may provide volume control.
    • Some provide on-hold music
    • Can allow for 100 or more participants

    Extremely effective and efficient, many are turning to bridge lines for conferences, meetings and training. Give it a try.

© copyright, Susan Dunn, 2004

Other Articles by Susan Dunn

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.

 

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