Practical ideas for facilitating workshops & people development


In this fast paced world we live in, and  with the distances in rural Australia, we are turning to web conferencing and teleconferencing as alternatives to meeting face to face.

Managing teleconferences well requires planning to ensure they are inclusive and effective. We miss all of the body language clues on the phone, however, if we learn to listen well it’s amazing how much we can “hear” from tone, pitch and intonation as well as language.

During a recent facilitation session we brainstormed ideas for effective teleconferencing these included;

  • Work out the group guidelines for teleconferencing while the group is face to face, if possible ,so everyone how ownership in how they will work together as a team.
  • Have a well prepared agenda which includes sufficient detail – send this out for input from everyone well before the meeting.
  • Have a list of everyone’s name and tick whenever they speak – that way you can keep track of contribution and ask for input from quiet participants.
  • Having the list also makes it easier to “run around the group” to ask for input on important topics of dicussion. I prefer to do this in a random order rather than thinking “it’s my turn next because I’m always asked after x”.
  • Start with a roll call and question – this might be “What hey would like to get out of the meeting?”, a quick report or something relevant to the group as an icebreaker.
  • Finish the meeting with a closing comment from everyone.
  • Keep the meeting to one hour, it’s very difficult for people to stay focused on the phone for longer.

Some ideas for group guidelines include

  • say your name each time you speak
  • one person speaks at a time
  • use the mute button to keep background noise to a minimum
  • be in a quiet environment
  • stay focused
  • it you can’t hear say so immediately
  • limit the time one person can speak
  • have clear detailed agenda and have read all papers prior to the meeting

If anyone else has any great ideas about how to make teleconferences effective I would love to hear from you!

Have a great week.

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