The idea of participating in a teleconference for the first time may be a little overwhelming, so we’ve gathered a few tips that you can review before a teleconference.
Getting ready in advance is important to avoiding delays. So after a trip to the washroom before the beginning of the meeting, get yourself a nice glass of water and follow these tips to get started:
- Have the teleconference number as well as any codes or passwords that you might need ready before the start time.
- Have all documents that you might need to refer to printed or open on your computer for quick access during the call. It is also good practice to review any documents before a meeting.
- If you are using a cell phone, make sure you have good reception and enough battery power.
- If possible, consider using a headset to avoid shoulder and neck discomfort. It also frees up your hands if you are taking notes.
- Plan to be on time but, if you arrive late, try not to interrupt the conversation to introduce yourself. Wait for the moderator to ask if anyone new has joined the meeting. If you need to introduce yourself, wait for a pause in the conversation and say, “Sorry for the interruption…” Also, if you are late, be wary of asking questions that may have already been discussed. Instead, contact the person who may be able to help you after the call wraps up.
- Please do your best to avoid leaving the meeting or stepping away, as someone may address you while you are gone.
Traffic, pets, keyboard typing, construction and even breathing sounds… all kinds of background noises can be disruptive in a teleconference, so it’s important to try to avoid them.
- Know how to use the mute/unmute function on your phone, so that you can use it in case you have background noise.
- For some teleconference systems, *6 is used to mute and unmute the phone. If you’re not sure, ask the moderator at the beginning of the teleconference for instructions on muting your phone.
- Avoid putting your phone on hold during a teleconference, as it may play music for those on the other lines.
Identifying yourself before speaking
- When you ask a question or make a comment, make sure to identify yourself by name so other participants know who is talking. The lack of visual cues makes doing so important until people become familiar with the different voices on the call.
- The moderator will likely ask for callers to ask questions or make comments. You can wait for this opportunity or you may ask to provide your input during the conversation – just wait for a pause. For example: “Cynthia speaking. I would like to make a comment.”
- Address people by name when speaking to them.
- Direct questions to a specific person instead of posing them to the group at large. This will help prevent confusion and ensure that your question will be answered, as otherwise it may be met with silence as others on the call try to figure out who is going to respond.