You will need to both be engaged and seem engaged. You must fight for only. one. second. to leap in and add your two cents without feeling like Godzilla, stomping on other people’s words. You will need to somehow catalog every team member’s voice and distinguish one from another. And you have to wrestle with bad connections, sound delays and other technological voodoo that generally seems to curse every call.
“I always marvel which we have individuals space stations and place men in the moon, and yet we’re still so lousy at teleconferences,” says Debra Dinnocenzo, author of “Working From the Distance: Being Your Best When You’re Not With The Remainder” and president of VirtualWorks!, an organization which helps employees and organizations work well inside the virtual workplace.
Thankfully, there exists a self-help guide to navigate you through the pain points of calling into meetings like a telecommuter:
1. Be aware (for real). Being 100 percent present (otherwise literally) is especially challenging when working remotely. Twitter, emails and instant messages lurk in nearby tabs, with out one would ever determine you sneaked in a few mid-meeting Facebook scrolls. Just you and the browser’s little secret!
But here’s one thing: While you’re commenting on photos of your cousin’s new dog, your colleagues are commenting on the way to solve some team problem. And what goes on once they require your input? You’ve likely heard the resulting silence heard ’round the international toll free conference call utilizing callers caught unawares, whenever they wait a beat too long to unmute and say their piece. “That’s a sure sign you’re doing another thing, Dinnocenzo says. Here’s the way to remain focused about the call – and prove it in your co-workers:
Stop multitasking. Act just like you were actually there within the conference room, Dinnocenzo says. You wouldn’t be checking email and instant messaging, can you? (Well, obnoxious meeting attendees may do this, although not you!) Bonus: “If you’re actually watching the conversation, you’ll comprehend the rhythm and the way to talk normally,” says Brie Reynolds, career advisor and director of online content on the professional job website FlexJobs, that offers telecommuting opportunities. Forget about anxiety about talking over people or otherwise talking enough. (Much more on that later.)
Take meeting notes. Another tip from Reynolds, who highlights that “you’re type of forcing yourself to take notice.”
Speak up. Reynolds adds that she’ll sometimes set goals for herself to, by way of example, ask two questions throughout a meeting or praise three people’s comments after they’ve spoken.
2. Be assertive. Unsure if others around the call can hear you? Can’t hear your co-workers? Have no clue if it’s Jim or Dwight who’s talking? Speak up! As Dinnocenzo puts it: “[Remote employees] possess the responsibility to assert their own needs.” All things considered, she says, you can’t stick to the conversation in the event you don’t know who’s talking and – heck – in the event you can’t hear. “That’s like sitting in the meeting with mufflers on your ears.”
Asking who’s talking, clarifying a statement or gently interjecting to inquire whomever is speaking to sit even closer to the microphone isn’t selfish – it’s essential for a productive meeting, Dinnocenzo says. To that particular end, in the event you call into regular meetings that might be run more smoothly for anyone calling in, suggest improvements. By way of example, ask that folks say their names before speaking. “Despite the fact that you’re not leading the meeting, you could share methods to make your meeting more lucrative,” Dinnocenzo says.
3. Just say it. OK, I’m gonna jump in here after Pam – or was that Angela? – wraps up. No, now someone else says something! Is my point even relevant anymore? Am I going to need to interrupt someone in order to say something that mattered back when Pam was talking? Better not.
Stop this inner turmoil, and just speak up. “It’s every man or woman for him or herself,” Dinnocenzo says. “You need to be assertive, and start whenever there’s the tiniest little break.”
And if you speak up, and – ugh, needless to say! – other people starts talking a beat as soon as you, follow Reynolds’ advice: “Carry on, finish your thought and after that transform it over to them,” she says. “It will help avoid those silences where everyone is being polite and seeking to not talk over the other person.”
Or, when someone else starts talking first, delay until he or she finishes, after which chime in by asking whenever you can add yet another thing, Reynolds advises. “[This] can help you start without feeling too pushy,” she says.
4. Perfect the technical aspects. Needless to say, no one will hear your brilliant comment in the event you can’t discover how to dial in the call. Triple-check numbers, passwords and meeting times, and test out your headphones, if you intend to use them.
If the call needs a certain software or program, test that, too, Reynolds says, preferably with another remote team member. “There’s always an update to download or a program that doesn’t deal with one browser like Firefox, but will deal with another like Chrome,” she says. “Find out all of the little issues beforehand so dexlpky29 if the meeting actually arrives, you’re able to log in without issues.”
5. Take control of your environment. Now to conclude with a few Telecommuting 101: Call into meetings from quiet areas free of barking dogs, honking cars or chatting baristas.? (And when you can’t, mute yourself – but be ready to unmute pronto, Dinnocenzo says.)
“It’s so easy to distract individuals a remote meeting with background noise wherever you happen to be, so close your home office door, or leave the cafe whenever you can,” Reynolds says. “Your co-workers will be grateful for it.”