Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Global Virtual Meetings: “The Sounds of Virtual Meetings”

You may have heard of the “Sound of Music,” but today, I present to you, “Sounds of Virtual Meetings.” In the wonderful world of virtual meetings everyone is bound to be impacted by sound. After many years of both facilitating and attending meetings virtually, I share a best known practice. Ensure the teleconference bridge line has mute capability. For example, *6 will mute for silence and *6 will remove mute so an individual may speak. In case you are wondering why this is important, scan the list of sounds and interruptions I have personally experienced, below.

Meeting Adjourned Sounds

Elevator music! Some companies still use elevator music when a customer is placed on hold. A virtual meeting attendee at one of these companies with elevator music placing you on hold (trust me, it happens), as you facilitate a global meeting will totally kill the effectiveness of your meeting. Do what you need to do to keep this from happening. Be aware that many global locations are presently in the elevator music era.

Inconceivable Sounds

Restroom Noises! In today’s advanced society, people can attend meetings while walking around. With back-to-back meetings, online "bio breaks" become part of your meeting. These sounds include, paper toilet seat covers, flatulence, falling water (if we may call it that), splashes of all sorts, and ultimately flushing noises, unless they are impolite and leave it for the next person.

How many times have you been in the stall and responded to what you thought was someone talking to you. Only to find out it was the other person on the phone.

Warning: I will flush multiple times if I see or hear you on a meeting in the loo, It's fun!

Humorous Sounds

I have heard blenders blending, vacuums in action, dishes clanging, drive-thru-orders, snoring, laughing, private conversations, private criticism of the meeting, which is now public knowledge, radio noises and some singing along.

Other Interrupting Sounds

For example, multi-tasking noises like; typing, stapling, shuffling papers, desk drawers, running water, soap dispensers, paper towels, door noises, dogs barking, crying children, snoring (zzzzz), airport noises, checking in at a hotel, ice machines, eating, and slurping.

Although these lists are not all inclusive, they drive the need home for a mute button and the use of it in virtual meeting effectiveness.

Don’t forget about the number of time zones we operate in and the people inconvenienced by late and early meetings.

Our offices have invaded our homes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really like your idea of flushing toilets (and worse) when someone is on the phone in the restroom.