Mind Your Manners – Even in a Teleconference!

It seems more natural, somehow, to bring all of the manners and common sense that you have learned over your lifetime to a meeting. However, don’t leave all those skills behind when you participate in a teleconference. Teleconferencing carries social expectations as well, and the rules must be followed for your conference and your performance to be a success.

The non-visual component of teleconferencing may invite relaxed behavior that could lead to loss of focus or miscommunication with your peers. Any participant becoming inattentive will stand out and subtly disrupt the meeting while neglecting to notice this effect because of the strictures of the conference call.

We’ve already said that it’s vital to be informed about the ins and outs of teleconferencing, now let’s apply those rules to the face-to-face meeting. Picture yourself interacting in an in-person meeting. Now contrast that with your behavior during a teleconference.

Could you take your behaviors from the teleconference meeting and transpose them right into the meeting room at your office? If that brings a smile to your face or makes you chuckle, that’s your clue, and we need to take a look at a few tips to remember. First and most obvious, be on time.

It might be tempting to teleconference while sipping coffee and eating your lunch, but don’t do it! Treat this meeting just as seriously as you would a face-to-face meeting in your office. Sit at your desk and be professional. Others on the call will be able to hear you moving around, eating, or getting settled and it will reflect negatively on you and your professionalism.

Second, organize all the materials you will need to refer to during the call. Do this ahead of time on your desk in a way that will be easy for you to find and access. You will have a few minutes to check over your organization while you are waiting on the line for everyone else to join the call.

Thirdly, listen for cues to communication and context as demonstrated by the caller. It is important to remember to listen without interruption and let the host finish talking. This may sound intimidating at first thought, but with experience you will be a practiced teleconferencing professional.

After you become familiar with teleconferences, such as knowing when it is your turn to talk, and being able to express your opinion without cutting others off, remember your goal is to be heard. You want to be known as the one who gave the most in the meeting by answering the questions and expressing your ideas.

In conclusion, whether you are at an on site meeting or a teleconference, the objectives are the same: to make a significant contribution to the meeting, to make a difference, and have a beneficial impact on the goals and results of that meeting. Proper etiquette is expected at all times and any manner other than the accepted norm will not be acceptable. This norm can be achieved by applying the knowledge of professional etiquette expected at a teleconference. After all, you are not just on a telephone call, you are attending a meeting.