Better Teleconferencing

Author: Alan Mellor, almellor

There is one depressing similarity between office work and remote collaboration. You can certainly make your meeting arrangements more efficient. But you’re just as likely to have a dull, pointless waste of everybody’s time if you don’t have a think about what you want to achieve.

I read an interesting link about this on Ten Top Teleconferencing Tips

Great tips. We’ve found at Yuuguu that when you collaborate, talk is important. It gives context to the other things you might be doing – screen sharing, sending links, remote control and so on.

Get the numbers right with Yuuguu

What’s the easiest way to ruin your meeting before it starts? Make it really hard to join. This was the first point in the article: everyone in the call needs to know the number to dial into, and any other access codes they will need.

With Yuuguu, our Meeting Scheduler makes this fast – and easy to get the details accurate. Follow the wizard, copy the results to your clipboard then send them around in your favourite way – be that email, twitter or carrier pigeon.

Welcome interruptions

I found the point about ‘allowing interruptions’ really interesting.

I’ve recently attended a conference at Durham University. Delegates and speakers alike used twitter clients to get interruptions projected on a wall using twitterfall and a conference hashtag.

Initially, this felt odd. I could almost see the horn rimmed spectacles of my old teacher at first, shouting ‘Mellor! No talking in class!’ But it did prove helpful.

Every now and then, a break was made in the presentation to look through the tweets and discuss any important issues arising. So, even better than an interruption, this technique allows deferred interruptions.

And yes, we’ve had this feature for quite some time in Yuuguu. Our screen sharing goes side by side with a group Instant Message discussion.

During our in-house meetings, we tend to have always used this feature for deferred interruptions. It can get a little out of hand with off-topic stuff, but I think overall I would recommend you give it a try.

As a bonus, a deft cut-and-paste from our chat window provides everyone with a handy transcript of the points raised.

Al’s Extra Rules for Extra Successful Meetings

I would add a few more Al’s Rules

  • Al’s Zeroth Rule: if you have nothing to discuss, don’t run the meeting
  • if you’ve got nothing to say, say nothing
  • if you disagree, do speak up! You might save us from ourselves. It feels awkward to some people to go against the flow – but what if you’re the only one present who can spot the ‘obvious’ flaw? We’ll thank you later!

Update: Even more great tips for being on a teleconference from someone who should know: Andy Pearce, CEO of teleconference company PowWowNow. Well worth a read – I particularly like the ‘Stand Up’ one. That definitely works for me.

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