What are some effective ways to lead an NGO teleconferenced meeting?

Below you’ll find some tips and techniques for facilitating your next teleconferenced meeting.

Before the Call
Try to plan ahead and let participants know the date, time and expected duration of the meeting. Be sure to provide all printed materials (agenda, background information, etc.) to participants in advance. It’s important that participants come prepared to every meeting, so define what you expect of them and provide some ideas on how they can do this.
Also, with teleconferenced meetings, it’s imperative that all attendees arrive on time. Highlight the importance of this when you e-mail the meeting information to the them.

During the Call
Always take roll call first. This lets everyone know exactly who’s in the room. If some of the meeting participants haven’t met previously, take some time to let each participant introduce himself and explain why he is attending the meeting.
Next, outline the agenda and highlight the objective of this meeting. It’s probably a good idea to define the meeting ground rules and expected behavior during the meeting. For example, ask participants to speak naturally, identify themselves when speaking, pause for others to comment and to spell out unusual terms, names and numbers. Basically, you should explain the importance of communicating as clearly as possible to avoid confusion.

During the meeting, try to direct questions and comments to specific individuals or locations. This way you can avoid having several people talking at once. At the end of your meeting, choose a date and time for your next teleconference call, if necessary. If you’re going to have another meeting, assign action items or follow-up tasks for the participants.

It’s honorable that you are attempting to learn more about this technology, since many individuals have no desire to learn new things. As the wise philosopher Confucius once said, “If a student is not eager, I won’t teach him; if he is not struggling with the truth, I won’t reveal it to him.” In other words, by inquiring about new things, you will become a wiser and more knowledgeable individual.

Until next time…may good meeting karma always be with you!

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