A professional business people our identity in our marketplace is extremely important. Identity or brand is an early indicator of the cost of doing business with us. A well respected identity results in lower cost to your marketplace, no matter what that marketplace may be.
Today’s article focus’ on a single aspect of identity management that has raised itself to me several times this week: Telephone Etiquette.
How many of us use conference calling and online meeting sharing systems (Skype, GotoMeeting, Meetingplace, etc) to conduct our meetings? I have been in 8 conference meetings this week where 2 or more participants were not geographically located in the same area as the main meeting.
Given that we are more and more, required to conduct business in a more virtual fashion, identity management takes on a different complexion. With a virtual meeting, there is little if any visual cues to help people move the conversation along or not step on one another verbally. Today’s article gives some simple guidelines for making conference calls work more smoothly and helping to build your identity as a competent business person.
1. Pay close attention to your proximity to the telephone or microphone. Voices will be softer or louder based on this distance and can give the impression that you are either not paying attention or that you are otherwise engaged. Remember people are "seeing" with their ears on a conference call.
2. Don’t tap the table that is holding the telephone or microphone. While those in the room may not be able to hear it, the mechanical noise will be transferred to the phone or mic and it is very distracting on the receiving end. Likewise shuffling papers near the phone of mic can be inordinately loud and prevent others from actually hearing what was said.
3. No Side Conversations! This sends a clear message that you don’t consider others thoughts valuable, if a side conversation starts up, as a business leader you need to stop it or bring it into the main part of the meeting.
4. My pet peeve, make sure the other person has finished talking before making your contribution. care must be taken to manage the meeting so that all the opinions are heard and all the information needed to be passed is passed. I personally must work to remember to not talk over someone. It is very rare when that is required, so be on the lookout for this one.
5. Pay attention to what is being said by others. You have no permanent lock on good ideas, so make sure you are open to the ideas of others, it will improve the quality of your own ideas. Another peeve I have is when it is obvious that the other person is simply waiting to start talking and they are only gated by me speaking, they are not listening (I admit I’m guilty of this as well). If you listen carefully to the other people on the conference call you may find the your opinions of them and their contribution may change.
Above all remember to respect your virtual meeting colleagues, which is what the list is all about anyway.This article was contributed by Thomas Frasher, co-founder of Active Garage. You can follow Thomas on Twitter at tfrasher.