Hi all,
I am currently in conference call purgatory. The people I work with on the project are split across 4 locations (fortunately only 2 time zones), and we spend HOURS on conference calls. One of the biggest drawback is the complete lack of visuals, so some of the best MT meeting tips don't work or are less effective.

Plus - if you think blackberry prayers are disruptive, almost everyone (except the person talking) on the call is doing something else - email, surfing, talking to someone .... I am trying to think of some ways to make the calls more efficient, fewer and shorter.

Maybe require that the participants all call from a local conference room rather than their desks?

What kinds of things have people done that have worked - most of my teams spends at least 10 hours/wk in conference calls. There has got to be a better way.


Lionel B Dyck's picture

Some of the things that I've tried are:

1. Put IM on 'do not distrub' - we use Sametime and I can easily see the status of everyone and thus can enforce it

2. Use a shared white board - again we use Sametime and that allows us to do this, including sharing a presentation, or sharing a desktop application (e.g. spreadsheet)

3. Everyone must 'mute' their phones when not talking

4. I remind my team to focus on the meeting so we can get thru it quickly - if they don't focus then they ask questions that have already been answered or are not ready when they are needed and that slows down the meeting (their peers will 'jump' on them after, and sometimes during, the meeting because they want to get to the end of the meeting)

5. Focus the meeting on one, or at most three, topics. If you can provide background info in the meeting invite or via e-mail before it really helps.

Am I always successful with this approach - I like to think so but with my team of 12 all teleworking it can be difficult to tell. However since I started using these ideas the meetings appear to be smoother and quicker (and since perception is reality I guess I'm doing good).

You might want to see the book "Death by Meetings" - lots of great ideas there too.[/list]

Shawn's picture


This is not a direct answer to your question, but I came across this list of teleconferencing tips recently and found it useful.

Gareth's picture

I posted a topic an hour before this one on the exact same topic. This has some posts so I have deleted mine and this is what I posted:

[quote]Hi All,

I've recently been taking part in an ever growing number of conference calls. While I'm usually just listening in my involvement is starting to rapidly grow.

Does anyone have any tips when taking part in a conference call and is there a pod-cast in the queue to deal with this topic?[/quote]