There are a number of benefits of working from home.
Yes, I can attend meetings in my slippers and pajamas with bed hair, I can put my phone on mute while I make a latte…but it can also be exceedingly difficult to participate in meetings via telephone conference calls.
As such, I suggest the following rules for anyone hosting a business conference call with remote participants dialing in:
- Send out materials in advance of the meeting or display them in a screen share
- Announce when changing pages or direct dial-in participants to the page or section of a document being discussed
- Any edits or updates to a document during a working session need to be displayed in a screen share
Include Dial-In Participants
- Make sure you consistently speak directly to the remote participants
- Ask the remote folks for feedback first before eliciting feedback from the participants in the room
- Ask specific remote folks questions to include them…more than you might if they were in the room
- Specifically announce when a call is ending…it may be obvious to the folks in the room, but not always to those dialed in
- In general, treat the conference phone or microphone as if it’s a real person
- Don’t drag papers over the microphone or conference phone
- Don’t open crinkly candies or office supplies near the microphone
- Don’t have a keyboard typing right near the phone or microphone
- Move close enough to a microphone or phone before speaking
- Avoid multiple conversations…more than one is virtually impossible to hear and/or follow
- Resist the urge to make funny comments…folks laughing (cackling loudly) in the room and encouraging others to make offhand clever comments is incredibly distracting and hard to listen to
- Realize that following the phone conversation requires our headset is set to the highest volume to hear, but when another caller speaks, it blows out our eadrums
I have spent many a conference call being so annoyed that I just want to hang up. Even the slightest consideration that I’m on the phone and important to the call can go a long way toward helping me participate actively. If you’d rather I wasn’t on the call, just don’t invite me to the call to begin with.
It may not seem like I’ve made much progress, but I only have another couple of inches left of length on the cotton bag I’m working on.
I’m planning on lining this bag to give it some structure, adding handles and making it so that it could a book or two and possibly an i-pad. We’ll see how well that goes.