Meetings on the Phone

So many meeting these days are held on the phone rather than in person around a table.  How to manage effective meetings?  In person meeting are challenge enough and often are not done well.  Adding the complexity of a phone meeting, adds significant challenge for all participants, especially the chairman or facilitator.

I recall a great video by John Cleese called Meeting Bloody Meeting which is a fabulous training film.  See a preview on youtube Preview Meeting Bloody Meetings.  

I have noticed many people really are not participants in phone meeting and I suspect are doing other things while the meeting progresses.  If the person is only there for information and a active participant, then maybe that is OK, but I am not sure.

The chairperson who is keeping people engaged by asking peoples input is really important.  Do not assume silence means anything.  Keep a list of all participants and actively ask individual's opinions.   Also at the beginnning of the meeting, going around the table to bring everybody into the meeting by getting some input on something relatively uncontroversial.  A simple update from each person would be a good warmup  A good warmup is as key to the success of a meeting as a good agenda.  

I wonder how many people have any training on phone meetings.   We spend so much time on these things wouldn't it be smart to become more effective.  

I would like to hear any ideas people have about this subject and any training that is available.

  1. Graham Reply

    Phone meetings … I can spend all day in meetings on the phone. It is a great way to get real work done, while at the same time not being interrupted by people coming by my desk. “Sorry I’m on a conference call and replying to email, and creating a presentation for my next “gotomeeting” and can’t be disturbed.” What’s the phone meeting I am on about? Not sure, some project that some one invited me to to make sure I was informed about their project.
    Sarcasm, and somewhat true.

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