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Working With Globally Distributed Teams or Clients: Tips for Effective Audio Conferences

Status: Work in progress (what is this?)

Besides having worked in multicultural offices, I’ve worked with clients and internal teams located across the globe. Here are a few simple tips that you will find useful for participating and conducting audio conferences effectively. This is work in progress so feel free to comment and add your own tips.

  1. If you are the facilitator, ask who has joined the call after somebody joins in the beginning of the meeting. If the meeting is in progress, wait for the person speaking at that time to complete a logical chunk of information before you ask for who joined the call.
  2. When you join the call, say hello and mention your name. Mention your designation if everybody is meeting for the first time and mention your organization if the meeting consists of more than one organization.
  3. When you want to speak, begin by saying your name (and designation and organization as I just mentioned). Don’t assume everyone knows you. There may be people on the call that don’t. Phone quality is also lower on speaker mode than someone speaking into a handset.
  4. As a participant, ask who the key people you need to communicate with are on the call rather than everybody on the meeting invitation list.
  5. If you are taking notes for yourself, let others know that you are so they can not only speak slower but know that your response will be a bit slower than that if you were just hearing what they said.
  6. If in a noisy environment, put your phone on mute when others are talking. Don’t forget to unmute your phone when you have to talk. As simple a thing as this may seem, it is a common occurrence.
  7. Similarly, if you ask a person a question and don’t hear the person speak back, ask the person if their phone is on mute by any chance.
  8. If you are talking to a particular person in the call, address that person by name so it is clear you are talking to that particular person (or persons).
  9. If you have not heard something clearly that is important for you know, request the person to repeat it so you can get it. If someone is inaudible or there is an echo in the call when someone speaks, let them know so they can speak louder or put a second speaker in the same room on mute.
  10. If you are the facilitator, then ask if anybody has anything to say before wrapping up the call.