If you and your colleagues are not able to meet in person for an important meeting due to scheduling conflicts, holding a teleconference will allow you to cover important topics without the hassle of "arriving" to a meeting location. When you invite individuals to join the teleconference, use etiquette to ensure that all participants know what to do before and during the call.
Sending the Invitation
It is acceptable to send the teleconference invitation via e-mail; you can also refer colleagues to a website that allows them to register for the teleconference. This way, you can include all the necessary information concerning the call, i.e. time, date and duration, without running out of space. If callers from different time zones will be participating, it is appropriate to include the time of the meeting in every necessary time zone. An e-mail is also more practical than a phone invitation, because meeting participants can save the email and refer to it as many times as necessary. The invitation should be sent to the participant's business e-mail address and should be clearly labelled with your name and the name of your company, so that it is not mistaken for spam.
It is also ideal to provide everyone who will be calling into the conference with a way to confirm their attendance. Providing a link that allows each person to answer "yes" or "no" will help you to keep track of how many people will be on the teleconference. If certain colleagues are not able to participate, you'll have the opportunity to change the meeting schedule around ahead of time. For example, if one of your colleagues was going to use part of the teleconference time to explain a new professional project, but is not able to call in, you can either cut the meeting short or use the additional time to take questions.
In the teleconference invitation, it is best to inform participants concerning how to operate their phones during the meeting. For instance, remind your colleagues not to place the phone on hold during the teleconference, since hold music is distracting and will make it difficult for colleagues to hear each other. Also, call waiting should be disabled on all phones, and it's best to use a landline phone instead of a cell phone for optimal reception. Wording for these requests should be something like, "Please do not place your phone on hold during the conference call, and disable the call waiting feature on your phone before calling into the conference. If possible, do not use a cell phone for the teleconference. These factors will ensure the highest call quality during the meeting, and will reduce excess noise and distractions."
The link and phone number(s) to technical support should be included in all teleconference invitations. This way, callers can contact a professional if there are problems with reception or volume before or during the call.
A few days before the teleconference, it is appropriate to send a reminder e-mail to all the participants. This e-mail should also be sent to colleagues who have not yet confirmed their attendance, so you can get an accurate count for the conference. Be sure to thank all colleagues for their participation, and indicate that the meeting will be conducted as quickly as possible.
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