One week ago, I put out a survey about working remotely and participating in teleconferences. Over one-hundred people participated in my survey. If you participated, thank you for taking the time to do so!
As part of the survey, I asked which hardware and software participants use as part of their teleconferences. The #1 most common piece of equipment? Speakerphones. Nearly 70% indicated that they had or have used speakerphones for their teleconferences. Despite its common usage, there were some disparaging comments made about them, particularly when used by those connecting to a teleconference when driving.
Using Speakerphones Effectively
Unfortunately, speakerphone quality is generally poor. In order to prevent feedback, most speakerphones automatically un-mute when the attendee is speaking, or when it hears a loud noise. Worse, some will mute the speaker while the attendee speaks, which prevents you, the facilitator, from interrupting, or them from hearing a contribution from other attendees.
Next time you host a teleconference, I suggest having your attendees use a headset. Even a cheap headset can drastically improve audio quality over a conventional speakerphone. Plantronics makes fantastic headsets – I’ve had mine for nearly five years now and it’s still running strong.
How else can I improve my teleconferences?
Part of your role as a meeting facilitator is empowering your attendees with the knowledge they need to be equal participants in your teleconferences. Remember – the goal of any meeting, whether it’s in-person, online, or a mixture, is to make a decision! It’s your job as a facilitator to allow your attendees to make important decisions as efficiently as possible.
In a few weeks, I will be hosting a workshop all about facilitating effective teleconferences. This three-hour workshop will cover the following topics.
- What cost-effective tools and equipment to use for hosting teleconferences
- How to troubleshoot, resolve and prevent common teleconference hiccups
- How to be an effective facilitator of meetings involving teleconferenced attendees
As part of the workshop, you’ll receive a guide for facilitating effective teleconferences, and a handout for your attendees that covers teleconference etiquette (muting, background noise), how to troubleshoot common issues (double-muting), and equipment recommendations (what kind of headset to use).