Collaboration optimize

Be aware and learn some Web conference etiquette

You'd think with Web conferencing having been around for a while now that people would learn what they should and shouldn't do. But it doesn't seem that way. Here are some tips for those still in the dark.

As readers are well aware, I work for a tech company. So it surprises me endlessly that many of the employees here don't understand the mechanisms of Web conferencing. It seems like every company-wide Web conference we have, there are always six or seven people who join in 15 or 20 minutes into the thing. So you have important information or announcements sporadically interrupted or drowned out by a disembodied voice saying "Now joining...."

I don't understand people who think others are not affected by their actions.

There will be late-comers to meetings as long as there are meetings, of course, but at least in a physical meeting, you can still hear the speaker when someone enters the room.

During our last Web conference, someone apparently called in from a cell phone somewhere in Middle Earth and didn't know to mute his phone. Every two minutes what sounded like a Gregorian chant wafted through the speakerphone.

Can you imagine how the unaccustomed would handle a virtual meeting? I found an article that described a couple of really embarrassing incidents that happened when a video was involved. Kinda funny if you aren't horrified by the possibilities that these things could happen on your watch.

(By the way, tune into our IT Dojo blog this week because Bill Detwiler will talk about what IT can do to circumvent the clueless actions of the Web conferencee.)

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

8 comments
markpeake
markpeake

Hi,I love the idea of using Elluminate as a platform for the discussions. I?ve been trying to learn all I can from your blog and the forums, but a live, online session would be most helpful.Thak you.

epcs00
epcs00

To prevent these issues. If you are the leader,some systems allow all phones to be muted and allow others to join silently.

ApplSecurityGeek
ApplSecurityGeek

Be careful if you use the private chat functionality during a web conference. If you are having a private chat with someone and that person logs off, the comment you intended to be private can (and with some systems, will) be delivered to everyone still on the web conference. A snarky little aside to your pal can become public knowledge in the blink of an eye.

fazalh
fazalh

Great article, i work in this space and have seen many interesting stories. One that comes to mind was a speaker who had around 50 participants on a webconference, I advised him to mute all the lines during the call so he would have a bit of control, the CEO was very adamant about leaving the lines open. During the call someone on the line said the ???F???, yes the F word! Everyone was quite and after a few seconds the CEO began to speak again, suddenly it repeated again, the participant said the ???F??? word and along with some other lovely curse words. We later found out the participant was talk aloud during an MSN chat with his now EX girl friend.

alex.a
alex.a

>> So you have important information or announcements sporadically interrupted or drowned out by a disembodied voice saying "Now joining."

jwilsonjx
jwilsonjx

I didn't get much out of this. Don't join late and mute your phone.. Another item to consider: Plan ahead and make sure you have the necessary browser plugins or powerpoint slides.

doomdreamer
doomdreamer

I believe the article was trying to point out that with Web Conferancing, simple acts that may simply be annoying at a regular meeting, can completely ruin any chance of the meeting actualy accomplishing anything. I believe however, as the technology becomes more "polished" it will become less of a "I pushed the wrong button and ruined the meeting" issue and more of a "you are doing the things that are still very annoying in a person-to-person meeting" issue. It should become the task of IT professionals to inform the users of these technological misshaps that can occur. We should remember that just because we believe it is common sense, that our users will not neccessarily think the same way.

toni.bowers_b
toni.bowers_b

It's just one of those workplace observations that many of us share. It's more from the point of view of attendees rather than those who are leading or speaking at the web conference.