Teleconferencing Ethics

In today’s world, more meetings take place in the form of audio, video or web conferencing. This is because teleconferencing is the most economical way of communicating with others who may be in different locations.

Having such conferences means people need to follow certain rules of etiquette in order to make them a more effective participant in such meetings. Different conference platforms mean that there are different rules of etiquette that apply to each.

Telephone Conference or Audio Conference

During an audio conference, the following rules of etiquette must be observed:

  1. Introductions are crucial. Because the teleconference in over the telephone, all that is heard are sounds and participants have no way of determining who may be speaking. Before the conference proper starts, a round of introductions need to be made so that everyone knows who is present. An introduction also needs to be made when a person speaks or makes a comment so that everyone who is listening can identify the speaker.
  2. Reduce background noise. When speaking over the telephone, even the slightest sounds can become a disturbance for someone who is listening. Try to keep distractions to a minimum. Avoid rustling paper, keep mobile phones off or on silent mode (not vibrate), close windows to limit outside noise.
  3. Be polite. When someone is speaking, do not interrupt. When it is your turn to speak, do not hog the limelight. When asking a question, introduce yourself and ask politely.
  4. Time management is key. Avoid going off the topic as this can waste valuable time. Keep an eye on your watch or the clock and try to stick to the agenda. Remember that there may be participants in different time zones.

Video Conferencing

Because participants of video conferences can also see each other, the following are rules of etiquette for video conferences:

  1. Be properly dressed. You need to wear proper business attire as you can be seen by all other participants.
  2. Avoid eating and drinking. Eating or drinking may not be appropriate when all the other participants can see what you are actually doing.
  3. Do not distract others. Avoid twiddling your thumbs or making paper airplanes. No matter how bored you may be with the teleconference, do keep in mind that it is a meeting and everyone can see what you are doing. Avoid nodding off and make sure you try your best to stifle a yawn.
  4. Be polite. Do not be rude and interrupt a speaker. Listen and make your comments when they are called for. Ask questions politely and answer any questions the same way. Teleconferencing is much like having a meeting in person, you need to be polite.

These are all very basic rules of etiquette but following them will help make your teleconferencing efforts a success.

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