SConference calls and online messaging are taking the lead when it comes to communicating with colleagues and departments, especially with lockdown and more people than ever working remotely. With lockdown in place, newly-home-based teams are working out how to connect online and getting projects done. But when it comes to talking online, there are definitely some right and not-so-right ways of talking with colleagues.
Here are some tips to follow:
Take in Turns to Speak
Without face-to-face contact, you can’t indicate that you want to speak. The only way is through your voice. But, it’s really important you don’t interrupt someone when they’re speaking. You don’t want to come across as a rude interrupter! Let someone finish what they’re saying first!
Introduce the Agenda
If you’re hosting, have the agenda, make sure you know who is there then outline the basic agenda planned for the call. This will give everyone an idea of what to expect (if they don’t have the agenda with them) and to prepare anything they want to talk about.
Check everyone has a good signal
A simple one to remember. But surprising how some hosts forget to check in and one or two team members have to mention during the meeting that they can’t hear what’s being said. With everyone in a different place, signals can vary. Ask everyone if they have a good signal and can hear you well.
Use Your Mute Button - when you need to!
Ever hear muffled noises or someone talking in the background? Unexpected noises are one of the downsides of working from home and having conference call. If you can’t wait to fill the kettle or munch that sandwich, there’s a wonderful little button called ‘mute’! No-one wants to hear background noises, though you can’t help it sometimes! So, next time you want to hide those noises, just press mute!
Give everyone a chance to introduce themselves
At the start of the meeting, introduce everyone who’s in the meeting. As the host, you’ll have a list of names on your screen to show you who’s there. It’s much easier to establish people there right from the start, so that everyone feels included.
Define tasks needed
With a conference call without visuals, you lose the communication aspects of eye contact and body language. So you end up using your listening skills to the max. Establish the tasks you want people to do and use individual’s name at the end of the call to remind everyone who’s doing what.
Any comments or questions...?
Not everyone will have a great signal or will have heard everything that’s being said during the call. As the host, it’s great practice to ask everyone if they have any questions or comments at the end of the call. That way, everyone gets a chance to clear up anything they’re not sure of. If you’re a participant, don’t be afraid to ask about a topic you weren’t sure about.