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Teleconferencing 101

August 2011 (SmartPros) Teleconferencing technology has been around for years, but this alternative to in-person meetings continues to grow in popularity as the workforce becomes more geographically dispersed and companies recognize the significant dollar and productivity savings that can be achieved using this approach instead of investing in plane tickets.

Whether you’re connecting with colleagues or clients remotely via video, web or phone, these three teleconferencing tips are worth taking:

1. Guard against technical difficulties. If you’re tasked with facilitating a teleconference meeting, make sure you fully understand how to use the technology before scheduling the virtual powwow. If you’re unfamiliar with the video screen, webcam, web-hosting software or phone features, do a trial run so you can troubleshoot issues without wasting others’ time or appearing poorly prepared. In addition, make sure you provide all participants with the correct login information, dial-in number or access code needed for the meeting.

2. Be time sensitive. When scheduling a meeting involving people in a variety of locations, keep everyone’s local time in mind. If at all possible, avoid planning a meeting that will take place very early, late or during lunch for a participant. Use websites such as or to figure out which time would be most appropriate for all parties. To eliminate any potential confusion, provide specific time zone information in your invitation. (Example: “The meeting is slated for 2 p.m. EST, 11 a.m. PST.”).

3. Keep your focus. Whether you’re managing the meeting or not, send the right signals by displaying good etiquette. Many people make the mistake of multitasking during teleconference meetings. In fact, in a survey by our company, 45 percent of executives confessed that they frequently do other things, such as respond to email or surf the Internet. Don’t be distracted — or distract others. It’s best to turn off your smartphone. If you’re expecting a truly critical email or call that will require your immediate attention, use the vibrate mode and give the meeting facilitator a heads-up at the outset that you may need to excuse yourself.

Accountemps is the world’s first and largest temporary staffing service specializing in the placement of accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The company has more than 360 offices throughout North America, South America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and offers online job search services at

2011 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

Source: Accountemps

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