TCs. Another rant.
July 9, 2012
Teleconferences (TCs) seem to be ever more frequent in these days of ‘virtual’ teams. I am not sure it is actually possible to be a team if you never meet. Human eyeball to eyeball connection. It may be possible for two people to work well together without ever meeting, but that;’s a double act not a team. More than two and I fear it is a sham. However, they do make TCs ever more neccessary.
Pointless, rambling meetings get my goat, but teleconferences bad are probably even worse. They are rarely engaging or informative and are used when the subject is not considered important enough to insist on a face to face meeting. I know no one who has not ‘been on a TC’ when they are in fact doing their emails/having instant messaging conversations with others/going off to make a cup of tea. Yet at the end of the meeting the poor host can tick the ‘I informed them of XY and Z’ and cover their arse.
So I give you my
Top Ten Tips for Making TCs Productive (or Not)
- If you are the host, don’t dial in first. Let everyone waste a good 5 minutes with that irritating music to reduce their stress levels
- If you dial in late, do bore everyone with your elaborate excuse and ask questions about what you have missed. Everyone will be eager to hear exactly the same thing over again
- If you are dialing in from a noisy, public area, do not mute your phone. It makes it fun for the participants to guess where you are by the background sounds.
- If you are using a headset, try to get the microphone as close to your nose as possible so everyone can hear your heavy breathing and constant sniffing.
- If you are asked a question directly, never admit you weren’t listening. Make up a crass excuse like the’ line went faint’, or you ‘didn’t catch the end of that’ or your ‘reception in this area is terrible’.
- If you are asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, again don’t admit it, but simply state that you’d ‘be interested to hear Steve’s take on that’ or similar.
- If you are in a group TC, make derogatory gestures and pull faces when other participants are talking
- Place any papers as close to the telephone as possible and shuffle through them as critical pieces of information are being relayed.
- Play bullshit bingo openly in a group TC and shout ‘House’ when you reach five of the pre-determined words.
- Never introduce yourself on a TC, especially if it is with a large group of people you barely know. It is fun for them to try and guess who that tosser mouthing off is.