Advancements in technology have made it much easier for the workforce across the globe to get connected easily on the move, by harnessing telecommunication mediums such as online conference calls and webinars to train employees and so on. VoIP technology has revolutionised employee communication in the workplaces of the future.
While conventional meetings are still sought after, the digital medium of interaction via voice calls and live video conference sessions has taken workings of the global workplace by storm.
Considering the ease to connect and ability to have face-time simultaneously, most employers today prefer virtual online meetings over real face-to-face conversations, since this saves on time lag and delivers cost-efficiency.
Conference calls are extremely cost-effective, to save on travel expenses, accommodation, additional expenses, while facilitating the ability to easily collaborate and communicate with the team anytime, anywhere.
Additional feasibility provided by the online telecommunication medium is that employers do not have to invest time and take painstaking efforts of preparing their boardrooms and arranging participants to travel for an important meet etc. Everything can be just managed perfectly on time, anywhere, just by connecting on the virtual telecommunication platform.
Video calls are most cost-efficient and is a great method to maintain consistent communication with all staffers across all departments, including the remote workforce positioned overseas.
Both onboard and remote workforce can derive utmost advantages of a secured online video conferencing platform to discuss, share, argument, debate, provide feedbacks and so on. This cost-effective method of conducting online virtual meetings over voice and video needn’t always function smoothly as planned. There are rare hiccups faced by managers and the team alike which can be avoided, if there is some preparation prior to the scheduled conference call.
Sometimes the distance and indirect communication creates an invisible glass facade between the manager and the employee, to result in less-effective meeting outcomes – wherein not all employees are fully engaged with the thoughts of the speaker.
See also: 4 Common Mistakes When Managing Remote Workers
According to a recent survey, many conference call participants admitted that they do find other ways to keep themselves busy, while on a conference call. About 63% of the respondents worked on other projects or sent an email during the conference call, while 44% are texting, 43% catching up on the social media byte, 25% play video games and 21% do online shopping, during an ongoing virtual meet.
Managers can put to use, these 4 top tips for employee management during a conference call, and ensure every team member’s complete attention and focus in the moment:
One key aspect to remember about conference calls is that, they can sometimes infuse boredom into employees to significantly lower their attention span during the meeting.
A speaker who speaks long enough all along the way, will make employees go sleepy, and these employees in turn would seek for other activities and pretend to be focused.
Employers are required to be more proactive when conducting meetings. They should set an agenda for the meeting and communicate it to all employees consistently via emails, allow shared viewing of the presentation and other visuals, such that all employees can actively participate in the conference call.
Both in-room face-to-face meetings and live video conference call sessions are equally important. A clear, structured agenda set before the meeting would result in more productive and effective conference calls, since every member of the team is familiar with the agenda, the points to be discussed and prepared with suggestions for a productive conference call.
Since conference calls are generally set-up when workers are displaced across geographies and dealing with time zone differences, some employees do not feel the need to contribute, comment, argue or offer suggestions during a live conference call.
While some others are shy, to speak up, and there are also some who are not so conversant with the usage of technological tools; the other smarter lot tends to press the ‘mute’ option and chooses to remain silent until the meeting is done.
Such passive dormant members of the team should be encouraged by the speaker to express their views, by addressing them in specifics with their name, such as, “John, What do you think?” and then followed by names of other participants in the call to actively voice out their comments and feedback.
When everybody gets a chance to express, the conference call can be called effective.
Before conducting a conference call meeting, managers must ensure that all employees involved in the meet and discussion, possess adequate subject and technical knowledge to operate the necessary softwares to join the virtual conference call.
If the employee/s in a virtual team are not conversant with the usage of technological tools, companies should provide them with on-the-job training and mentor them right.
Managers on the other hand, should understand their team member requirements and seek for new ways to keep the employees engaged and participate actively during a conference call. Only a proactive workforce can turn out to be a productive one!
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