Perhaps the most annoying aspect of holding teleconferences is the fact that people’s attention spans can be so short. Why waste valuable time putting together a complicated presentation only to find that some participants are checking their emails whilst you are in full flow?
One of the tricks of keeping a meeting interesting is to use ‘moving’ images or audio recordings to interest and stimulate participants. Ask questions at the end of each clip to ensure full audience participation.
A participant will be more likely to concentrate if he knows a question will follow. This may sound a little ‘schoolish’ but better this than wasting resources on inattentive attendees!
A virtual whiteboard is also another great tool to get people involved. It not only makes for ease of showing sketches in real-time, it also allows others to add their own input to the board for all to see. This is then captured by the computer for use and archiving later.
Recording devices are invaluable in these situations since they accurately record conversations etc. and can be used to transcribe events of the meeting. This also keeps people on the alert since they may want to show ‘the boss’ that they were actively involved.
Above all else, these teleconferences should be interesting and informative. Although they save the expense of hotel bookings, flights and travel etc., they can deteriorate into hours of wasted time which defeats the object somewhat.
Be innovative, time is money. ‘Move’ with the times!