Tips to Maximize your Teleseminar

Basic Instructions

If you have call-waiting, we ask that you first disable it before dialing into the teleconference. For most local phone companies, you disable call-waiting by picking up the phone, waiting for the dial tone, dialing *70 (that's star seven zero), waiting for the dial tone again, and then dialing the bridge number.

Please dial the teleconference number at the appointed time. You will be connected to the other callers automatically without dialing any further numbers.

Those already connected will hear a beep when you join the call, and the call leader will usually say something like, "Hi, who just joined the call?" or "Welcome, hold on a moment while everyone joins the call." If you're late, the leader may not acknowledge you. That doesn't mean you're not welcome. Just listen silently until you catch up with the meeting topic before speacking.

In general, please say your name before speaking so that people will have no difficulty identifying you.


When Something Goes Wrong

If the phone rings but won't connect, one of two things has occurred. You might have mis-dialed, or your timing is off. Check the number and redial. If still no success, then check the time. The usual convention is to state meeting times in Eastern Time (New York Time). To find the time for your own time zone within North America:

Eastern Time 6pm

Central Time 5pm (subtract 1 hour)

Mountain Time 4pm (subtract 2 hours)

Pacific Time 3pm (subract 3 hours)

If the phone rings and you receive a recorded message saying something like "All circuits are busy, please try your call again later," it means that not enough long distance lines are busy to connect you to the teleconference. This sometimes happens between the hours of 7PM and 11PM Eastern Time. Keep trying, or put your phone on auto re-dial if you have that feature.

If you receive a busy signal, it means that you either mis-dialed, or the teleconference bridge is full. Check the number and dial again. If you still receive a busy signal, then the bridge is full and is likely to remain full for the duration of the teleconference.


TeleConference Etiquette

There are several things elements of teleconference etiquette, please review these before you call. They include:

1. Mute Button. Use your telephone's mute button, if there is one. Background noise, the dog barking, radio, etc., could be a problem for the other participants. If you don't have a mute button, don't worry. Just try to call from a quiet location.

2. Breathing. Some people breathe 'heavier' than others. Most of the heavy breathers don't realize it. (Who, ME?) So, we ask everyone to hold the mouthpiece or telephone headset microphone a bit away from their mouth and nose, unless they are speaking. This sounds pretty silly, but when you're on a call with a heavy breather, you'll understand why it matters!

3. 2-line phones. If you have a two-line phone, please turn the ringer off of the second line. If you don't, and you get a call during the TeleClass, it can really be a shrill noise that everyone hears.

4. Pets. If you're on a smaller TeleConference (like 10-30 callers), your dog will probably woof at exactly the time needed for some comic relief, so it's not usually a problem. But if you're on a larger TeleConference (30-150 callers), please put pets in another room.

5. Speakerphones. Please don't use them, unless you use the mute button. Speakerphones are wonderful things, but we ask that you not speak into them when sharing. The clarity/quality simply isn't good enough. Pick up the handset when you share and put the mute button on when you're just listening.

6. Sharing. The leader will usually ask for callers to share or respond, throughout the call. However, please wait to be prompted -- don't just speak up, unless invited. If/when you do share, say something like, "Thomas (or the leader's name), this is Bob from Tampa." The Instructor will say, "Yes, Bob, go ahead." Then you can say whatever you'd like to. Always use the leader's name and wait until they respond, indicating that you can proceed. On smaller calls this formality isn't usually needed and there is a natural flow to people sharing and discussing.

7. CrossTalk. If another caller says something that you want to comment on or ask more information about, go through the leader, don't speak to the person directly, at least at first. Let the leader play traffic cop. You could say something like, "Thomas, can I ask that Marlene rephrase the point she just made?" Again, on smaller calls, this isn't as necessary, but on the large calls, it really is.

8. Early/Late Please don't call the bridge before the scheduled time -- another conference may be in session. If you're late to the call, no problem, just dial in and be silent until you catch on to what's being discussed. The leader may or may not officially welcome you -- but probably won't so as not to disturb the flow of the call. That doesn't mean you're not welcome! And, finally, if you're more than 10 minutes late, be really careful about asking questions, as they may well have been asked earlier.

Back to CyberSpace main page