Jessica’s Teleconference Call Tips

Flicr CC photo by fLeMmaI’m beginning to feel like I live in telephone and Skype conference calls. And some are tortuous. All I can say is “Amen Sistah” to these three simple tips from Jessica Lipnack. How many multi-tasking on conference calls? 100%

1. Make the calls shorter. And shorter. And shorter. One senior exec whom I love for his discipline in this got his calls down to 15 minutes. And he’s very senior. Stars on his shoulder and all that.

2. Please, please, please listen to the “medical” experts, those who’ve treated thousands like yourselves: Always use some form of screen sharing during your calls so that everyone can focus on what you’re talking about. Imagine that you’re in a conference room together and everyone has their backs to one another and is looking out the window in different directions. How much attention are you paying to what’s being discussed? Looking at the same object is a powerful way to focus attention.

3. Close your email while you’re on your calls. Close it. Click it shut. And for those of you reading this post during your call, your browser too.

After reading this, I realized I really needed to update my old teleconferencing tips page, so here it is!

See also

Photo Credit fLeMmA

Using “the clock” on telecons

Someone asked me the other day to remind them how to use the “clock” technique on telephone conference calls. So I dug out some old image examples and put this together and created a short (under 2 minutes) podcast. The lower images are based on a template one of the Online Facilitation alumni, Ray Guyot, made for us. Thanks again, Ray! Full pictures can be found on Flickr.

Teleconference Call Facilitation Tips

The Clock

“The clock” can be used on conference calls to help people get and keep a sense of place and participation in a disembodied conf call. It can be used with structured online chats as well. Ask every one to draw a circle on a piece of paper and mark the hours like a clock. Then, each person is assigned a spot on the “clock” as they join the group. So the first person is 1 o’clock, the second 2, etc. If there are more than twelve, start adding 1:30, 2:30 etc. Use this initially to create a speaking sequence for intros, and then use it to ensure everyone speaks. Participants can make notations by names and use it as a visual tool to match names/voices/input. If you are doing multiple rounds of “speaking” vary the “starting position” on the clock.

We want to use this in a workshop, so any feedback and suggestions for improvement are appreciated!

Edit: March 17th – Ray Guyot has graciously agreed to share his clock template. Ray Guyot’s Telephone Clock Template (pdf) Thanks Ray