We’ve all been part of a teleconference, with some people in the room and others on the phone. Dialing in, it can be difficult to hear, or follow the proceedings, or make ourselves heard. In the room, it can be frustrating when those on the phone fall behind, speak over top of one another, or don’t speak at all! As project management professionals are all aware, communications is one of the major areas in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), and has been described by many to be the most critical success factor for program execution.
Teleconferencing is a common format for team meetings with today’s geographically dispersed teams and nod to work-life balance. Program managers and team leaders who depend on teleconferences to manage projects will find that in addition to the challenges of conducting productive face-to-face meetings, in teleconferences they lack the key non-verbal aspects of communication, which presents additional challenges. Albert Mehrabian and colleagues at UCLA have shown that communication involves a complex set of non-verbal and verbal cues such as “body positions and movements, facial expressions, voice quality and intonation during speech, volume and speed of speech.” Without seeing non-verbals, it is easier to misunderstand the words, meaning and importance of what it said.
How have you been conducting your meetings? The following guidelines will assist program managers and team leaders to conduct outstanding teleconferences that capitalize on the verbals to ensure clear communication and a productive meeting. [Read more…]