7 Common Mistakes You Might Be Making When You Do Conference Calls

27th June 2016

You’re competent at stress management. You’re a professional, or at least that’s what you tell yourself when you try to get that video meeting to work and it doesn’t. These gatherings can be huge time wasters, especially if one of them goes wrong. Here are some common mistakes you’re doing during your conferencing calls that might be contributing to your failed meetings. Keep an eye out for them so you know what to avoid:

Mistake #1: Not Planning Ahead

The advantage of video is that it eliminates the need for travel. That still means getting your schedule and those of other participants in sync. Everybody has to be available at the time of the meeting and if you have remote teams, it can be quite a challenge. You’ll have to sort all of that out, but finagling for the right day and hour should be simple enough.

Mistake #2: Being Late

You need to be on time, says Mobile Village. Logging in late can disrupt the rest of the group, cause delays in decision-making, and hold up the call, stretching it to far longer than what was originally in the agenda. If some of your colleagues are working under a tight schedule, then being late won’t exactly endear you to their good graces.

Mistake #3: Winging It

Come prepared for the discussion. Time is of the essence and again, the point of substituting online for a face-to-face huddle is to save on time. That’s hardly going to happen if you come to the meeting without having a plan of action, not knowing what’s on the agenda, or not even being sure what you’re there for. Do you have a role? Who else is going to be involved in the discussion? Will you need to report on something, work on a revision, or deliver a report? What kind of output is expected from you? Knowing these things beforehand can help you keep everything brief and productive, focused on answering questions and getting the job done instead of being in a mad scramble to field off questions or finalize your report.

Mistake #4: Not Knowing How to Use the Technology

The worst mistake you can make is to rely on technology when you have no clue how to use it. Before you do that online discussion, make sure you know how your tools work. If you’re back in HQ meeting with offsite teams, you want the best view or vantage point possible. That could mean changing the angle of the camera. Have blurred image output? When it comes to online discussions, video clarity is a must, so go for reliable brands. Your video conference camera choices include Blue Jeans, one of the leaders in cloud-based conferencing solutions that offers HD clarity. Face to face interaction is one of the hallmarks of online conferencing, so make sure you opt for a camera capable of delivering a standout performance. When you’re using it to connect to your team or clients, the clearer the visuals, the better.

Mistake #5: Not Being Mindful of Your Actions

While online has a great potential to drive better communication, it also comes with its own problems. For instance, people can see more things about you in video conversations, such as when you dress inappropriately, talk to people beyond the scope of the camera, take naps, or pick your nose. All these can be distracting, says the Business News Daily, so keep your appearance and behavior professional. There’s already the perception that working from home or offsite means you have it too easy. You don’t want to add to that or make your employers think you aren’t really getting things done. Also, if you’re home, dressing up in professional clothes can help you put your mind in the zone and keep you from getting distracted throughout the day, no matter how much your cat kneads your lap or leaves bribes on the floor, just to get you to play.

Mistake #6: Not Being Flexible

Technology moves and evolves at a rapid pace. You’re going to end up adjusting to a whole lot of new guidelines. Learn them all. Keep up with the times. Master your tools. That’s the best way to stay competitive in the workplace today. Don’t make the mistake of sticking stubbornly to what you know, especially if it’s outdated or outmoded. If you fail to sit up and pay attention to how more and more people adopt new and better technologies in the way they do their work, you could end up missing out on a lot, until you wake up one day and wonder why nothing seems familiar anymore. Don’t leave yourself out in the rain. Stay updated. Learn.

Mistake #7: Meeting When You Don’t Need To

If you can say what you need to in an email, such as if you are only passing on a set of instructions that require no need for feedback, or if you don’t actually need to have a professional conversation, then don’t. Even if you’re saving people time since it’s on video, finding out if you really do need to talk or not is better.

Corey is an all round tech guru who has worked at some major blue chip companies. He started Poweronemedia to share his views and knowledge with the rest of the blogging world.