Teleconferencing is as much part of today’s business routine as pens and paper were to conferences of days gone by. But with new technology comes the necessity to ‘mind your manners’ when communicating with global participants.
When you are mid conference call, how do you make it known that you have something to contribute? Do you wait until there is a lull in the conversation or do you just ‘jump in’?
Did you know that the Japanese will listen to what you have to say, and then consider what they will answer, leaving that uncomfortable – to us in the Western World – silence that we feel compelled to fill up sometimes with inane chatter!
Unless you are on a video conference, there is no clear way to interrupt, especially when you are not familiar with the seniority of all the participants. Cutting off a colleague may be forgiven but interrupting the boss – well that is a whole other ball game!
If possible, discuss this sensitive matter with the organizer before the meeting takes place. If you are the organizer, produce an agenda and distribute it in advance.
Maybe you could factor in a question and answer segment at the end of each subject being discussed which would also allow time for other suggestions or ideas to be tabled. It is important, and to keep the ‘flow’ of the meeting going, that someone directs events.
Organization is the universal language used when setting up a successful teleconference whether it is ‘in-house’ or international.