Conference Calls – Dos and Don’ts

Dos

  • Try to be at the quieter end of your place.
  • If possible, use a video camera.
  • Have a proper agenda, if available, use a bulleted points list that could / would be discussed.
  • Join by default on “Muted” option
  • Preferably use headphones (mic inbuilt)
  • Be loud, clear and slow in communication (There is no Words/min record to be beaten). No harm explaining the point again especially in a patchy connection.
  • Before going ahead, introduce / say hello (specially if its big room 10+ guys with new members) and ask if you were audible
  • Before going ahead with screen-share/presentation, please check once if the screen-share is visible
  • While presenting and talking – Try using your mouse and pointing to the data that you want others to follow.
  • If you’re presenting numbers, worksheets As a rule of thumb zoom 2 points (120% in modern browsers).
  • If there is a long silence, there is a good chance you’ve got disconnected. Confirm with the audience if you’re audible and then reconnect
  • Still a long silence ? if you’re expecting an answer or comment from somebody, ASK THAT GUY/GAL. Or take a lead and ask, “shall we move on?”
  • As soon as you’re done talking, mute yourself (Ctrl+D on google meet) is a nice toggle shortcut in google-meet.
  • If going through periodic/weekly-syncs, it’s good to give a brief intro of the task and then give details on it.
  • Give verbal signals in long conversations that you’re not dead and following the conversation, eg. “hmm..”, “ok…” Backchannel (linguistics)
  • Before the end of the call, reiterate the points finalized and get an agreement from everybody. (I learnt this from Manwar)
    Say a goodbye and then drop-off the call, Don’t just simply exit.

Don’ts

  • As a listener, try avoiding to read / work on something else, it’ll lead you to ask, “sorry could you repeat that ?” (Even I’ve been the culprit many times :/ ). The poor guy at the other end has to reiterate and explain things. You might as well drop-off from the meeting.
  • Don’t have long monologues. Keep your statements short and direct.
  • If you plan to have a longer discussion, others might not be interested. Schedule another call (let’s take it offline) with the concerned person and keep the current meeting light and specific
  • Long distance commn. is difficult. It’s difficult to get emotions across correctly, Please refrain from using accusative language, harsh words.

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