Facilitation – Video / Teleconferences

Three threads on video/ teleconferences, one from 2002, one from 2000, one from 1999.

Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 20:24:23 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)

From: Sandor P Schuman <sschuman@csc.albany.edu>

To: Gary Purser <gary@gpassoc.demon.co.uk>

Subject: Re: [GF] Teleconferencing

On Wed, 6 Mar 2002, Gary Purser wrote:

> I can recall the group discussing teleconferencing some time

> ago and religiously saved the pearls of wisdom, filed them in

> my wonderful system and guess what - I am now involved in

> facilitating one and can't find any of it! So has anyone got

> some guidelines, process advice, hints, do's and don'ts for a

> teleconference of 20 people who have not been involved in one

> before.

Date: Fri, 4 Aug 2000 07:44:12 -0400

From: Martha Lasley <martha@ltworks.com>

To: GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu

Subject: [GF] speaker phones on conference call

Tony -

Speaker phones on a conference call can be totally frustrating.

If you can get each person to call in on a separate line, you're

better off. I prefer using a bridge line, which you can rent for

about $15 / hour. These are some of the tips we share with people

who gather on a bridge line.

Bridge Line Tips and Protocol

1. Schedule one full hour of uninterrupted time to participate in

the call.

2. Use your telephone mute button if you have background noise.

If you don't have a mute button, just call from a very quiet

location.

3. If you have a ^Ócall-waiting^Ô feature on your line, please

disable it before dialing in to the call by dialing *70.  After

you hang up, your call-waiting feature automatically resumes.

4. Please do not use speaker phones.  Cordless phones and

headsets are usually fine.

5. Since the people on the call can^Òt see you, whenever you

speak, say your name first.

6. Call in precisely at the top of the hour. The first person to

call in will hear the phone ring until the second person calls,

which opens up the line.

7. If you must leave the call early, please notify the leader.

Simply hanging up is not courteous, and is equivalent to walking

out of the room.

Thank you for honoring these requests!

As for lack of visuals, I find it helpful to ask people to

imagine that we're all in one room and that you'll really have to

listen to "see" what's going on. Just like in a face-to-face

meeting, you can hear it if people are multi-tasking or

disengaged or holding back. As the facilitator it helps to keep

track of who hasn't spoken up so that you can draw them in, and

it will help people stay on track if you summarize the

proceedings by flip charting everything orally at important

stages in the discussion. Group calls are a real test of

facilitation skills AND a great learning tool to hone those

skills! - Martha Lasley

Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2000 14:55:18 -0700

From: Tony Wong <TonyWong@uniserve.com>

To: GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu

Subject: [GF] Update: Surviving facilitating 9 way conference call

   Recently, I posted a question about tips for managing a

conference call involving up to 9 parties and up to 15

individuals in a brainstorming session. I'm happy to report I

survived the conference call despite the potential for chaos.

Here's an update on what I learned.

   Thanks to the folks who provided suggestions on facilitating

such a challenging venue. In addition to the responses already

posted to the group, the following are other suggestions I

received:

- Dig a little deeper and find out why the client is determined

to have a conference call with so many people..

- Do a reality check: 15 people in one hour gives only 4 minutes

per person to speak on average.

- Have participants state their names when they begin speaking

"Tony here...." so we know who is speaking and the facilitator

can call on those that haven't said much.

- Have participants mute their speaker phones to keep background

noise to a minimum.

- Confirm that everyone can participate for the duration of the

call; if someone must leave, to tell the group so we know they

left.

- Participants should be aware if their office phone system pipes

in background music when they put their phone on Hold if they

have to step away.

- Use a dial-in service for the conference call (which we did)

And this from N. White:

>I often use "the clock" on conference calls to help people get and keep a

>sense of place and participation in a disembodied conf call (I use this

>with structured online chats as well).

>I ask every one to draw a circle on a piece of paper and mark the hours

>like a clock. Then, each person is assigned a spot on the "clock" as the

>join the group. So the first person is 1 o clock, the second 2, etc. If

>there are more than twelve, I start adding 1:30, 2:30 etc.

>I use this initially for intros -- the first go round, then use it to

>ensure everyone speaks, and also to match names/voices/input. I often keep

>little notes on my "clock" as well.

>I use this in my online facilitation class (calls with up to 20 people)

>and

>the students consistently love this little tip and take it back and apply

>it

>at their workplace. Simple, but works like a charm.

As an adjunct to the conference call, I set up a Web based forum

for my clients so people can follow and contribute to the

discussions when they have time. I used "www.ezboard.com" but

there are other free and for-fee options available including

www.groupsystems.com. Another suggestion was if available, to use

Lotus Notes to share information.

In the end, we had 9 parties and 11 people on the conference

call. Four to five people did most of the talking. Upon checking

with the other participants, they preferred to listen and

observe. So my concerns about trying to keep order didn't amount

to much. Nonetheless, I think implementing many of the

suggestions I received helped a lot.

The only difficulty (and this is chronic challenge for me) was

keeping within the time allotted for each item on the agenda.

Invariably, I find it hard to know when to cut off discussion

even though the discussion is still on topic and relevant to the

particular agenda item. I feel there is worthwhile discussion

going on but at the same time, the clock is ticking away. I

wonder how other people handle this?

Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 09:46:36 -0700

From: Bill Harris <bill_harris@facilitatedsystems.com>

To: GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu

Subject: Re: [GF] Help on Facilitating Teleconferences

"Niziol, Fred" wrote:

> I need some ideas. As a result of last weeks events, a JAD

> session I was to conduct has gone from an in-person event to

> a half-the-

> group-will-be-there-and-the-other-half-are-scattered-across-the-country-and-

> will-be-on-the-phone-JAD. I may have just coined a new term

> here :). I

Love the acronym: HTGWBTATOHASATCAWBOTPJ.  I can see it as the

catchy title of a session in some future IAF conference, assuming

you can pronounce it. :-)

> haven't done a lot of telephone facilitation. How do you

> manage multiple conversations? Are there specific things any

> of you like to do when facilitating this kind of situation?

> Fortunately all participants will have subject matter

> documents.

I'm not a JAD facilitation expert, although I was a software

quality manager for a while and am familiar with the approach. 

I do lots of online facilitation and work of varying sorts,

though.  Here are some ideas; we can talk more if you're

interested.

First, if you're really doing a phone only meeting, remember that

you need to do with your voice everything you'd do in a myriad

other ways. That means using varying tone and inflection, giving

explicit directions, etc., to compensate for the lack of

information organization a shared visual dimension can provide. 

For example, you may want everyone to write down some things

you'd normally put on a flipchart, and you'll need to ask people

to do that.

I'm not sure you can manage multiple conversations well on a

purely phone conference.  You might get away with it using plenty

of explicit direction.

Don't go too long at a time without breaks.  Over an hour gets

pretty lengthy, especially if people have only handsets.  Good

headsets do help (I found one I like that isn't too expensive,

and it's good, because there are days I'm on the phone for a full

8 hours, it seems), but attention spans can still be a problem.

Have people identify themselves when they talk; don't rely on

recognizing voices, even of people you think you know (or know

you).

It sounds like you'll have half the team in a room together and

half on phones.  Consider abandoning the room and using only

phones to balance influence in the meeting and to raise the

average level of interaction. (I have been in successful meetings

with speakerphones, but there's always the problem of the

phone-in people being second class participants in general

discussions.)

You might consider augmenting the phone with other tools, if

people have simultaneous phone and Internet connections.  One

option is simply to find NetMeeting or a NetMeeting "equivalent"

to be able to show material, mark on it, and interact in creating

documents together. Bernie DeKoven has talked about his

technography approach which could work for this, especially if

you added a graphical component so you and others could draw

pictures (Bernie, excuse me if you already use a graphical

component and I misrepresented you).  There are a number of

interesting possibilities.

You could also do an asynchronous meeting.

http://facilitatedsystems.com/matrix.pdf gives one person's ideas

about when that might be appropriate.  Asynchronous meetings

require a bit of a different mindset than a synchronous meeting

(some people might say it requires a strange mindset to even call

it a meeting :-); http://facilitatedsystems.com/onlinefac.pdf

gives a few ideas that could help in thinking about the approach.

Does that help?  Best wishes.

Bill

> Thanks, the help is appreciated

> Fred Niziol

> Social Security Administration

> Baltimore, MD USA

Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 10:58:14 -0500

From: Sam Lane <SXAL@srskansas.org>

To: GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu

Subject: Re: [GF] Help on Facilitating Teleconferences

attached is a brief guide on the technical process - same

document is provided in two formats. hope this is of some

assistance.

RULES FOR EFFECTIVE AUDIO-CONFERENCING

? Test The Effective Distance A Speaker Can Be From Your Speaker-Phone Microphone

?  it is usually

? no less than 1 foot

? no more than 3 foot

? be considerate

? move the mike to the speaker or the speaker to the mike

? add satellite microphones where possible

? alert conference coordinator/speaker when you can't hear

? don't let the meeting go forward until all participants can hear all the time

? Call In On Time

? Provide To All Participants In Advance 

? roster of attendees

? take attendance

? note absences or substitutions so that attendees can "see" who is in the "conference room"

?          agenda

?          a copy of these rules

?  Don't Put An Audio-Conference On Hold

? that often adds Muzak

? hang up and call back to rejoin conference

? Raise Your Hand Before Speaking

? by stating your name and location/organization

? Eliminate Background Noise

? use mute button when not speaking

? don't type, shuffle papers, or have a side conversation when the mike is "open"

? Keep it Clear

? don't speak at the same time as another speaker

? mikes are noise activated - noise on two mikes means no sound is carried

? provide written materials in advance

? Break Often For Questions and Clarification

From belazari@worldnet.att.net Mon Sep 17 15:25:20 2001

Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 10:45:57 -0700

From: Barbara Elazari <belazari@worldnet.att.net>

To: GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu

Subject: Re: [GF] Help on Facilitating Teleconferences

I have done a lot of facilitating on conference calls and WebEx so here are

some things that immediately come to mind:

1) Draw a diagram on a sheet of paper indicating the locations people are

calling from.  Then within those locations, list who the people are and what

their role is.  If you can get this ahead of time, you will save some time.

Otherwise do it as part of the introductions to the meeting.

2) If you have a large meeting (more than 7 people), you will need to play a

more directing role than you might normally do.  This is due to telephone

technology where one person gets control of the phone and it is hard to get

it back.  At the beginning of the meeting, suggest to the group how you

would like to have the meeting progress and then modify accordingly.

3).  A good way to start on any topic is to go around the table once,

letting each person speak for a specific amount of time.  Then open up for

general discussion.  This way everyone has had a chance to voice their

opinion without contention on the phone.  If people are grouped together in

a location, you can use that as way to focus questions - "Any questions from

location 1?"

4). Have everyone preface their question/comment with the name of the person

they are addressing or the entire group if that is the case.  For example,

"Dave, what do you think about...?"

5) Set time limits for topics and remind the group when they are coming

close.

6). Try to structure the agenda into small chunks of work with specific

goals.  That helps to divert tangential discussion to the correct topic.

"Thanks for bring that up, George, we will address it during the ____

topic".

7). Don't forget to take breaks.

8). Keep the energy up by using peoples' names, not letting

anyone dominate, going around the table so everyone can

participate, setting specific, short term targets, taking breaks

and checking with the group frequently for how the process is

going.  It is very easy to lose peoples' energy and focus on the

phone.  They are all doing email and reading stuff at the same

time.

Feel free to call me if you have any specific items you need help with.

Barbara Elazari

BEB and Associates, Inc.

Connecting People and Process

480-513-4646; email: belazari@worldnet.att.net

Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 10:58:14 -0500

From: Sam Lane <SXAL@srskansas.org>

To: GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu

Subject: Re: [GF] Help on Facilitating Teleconferences

Fred stated:

haven't done a lot of telephone facilitation. How do you manage

multiple conversations?

attached is a brief guide on the technical process - same

document is provided in two formats. hope this is of some

assistance.

Sam Lane

Creative Curmudgeon

Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 06:38:18 -0700

From: Til Luchau <til@ADVANCED-TRAININGS.COM>

To: GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu

Subject: Re: [GF] Teleconferencing

Hi Gary

You asked about teleconferencing logistics. Here is a participant info sheet

we've compiled, much of it kindly provided by Telebridge.

We also have a list of "Telecourse Frequently Asked Questions" at:

http://www.advanced-trainings.com/telecoursefaq.html

Feel free to adapt it, and have fun!

Til Luchau

Advanced-Trainings.com

Tel. +1 303/499-8811x3

Fax +1 309/423-9281

Email: info@advanced-trainings.com

Web: http://www.advanced-trainings.com

=======

Information for Teleconference Participants

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 short tone 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 speaking.

In general, please say your name before speaking so that people will have no

difficulty identifying you.

Top of page

If Something Goes Wrong

First, Double-check the time, time zone, and number of the call. Most

difficulties are solved with this step.

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 (North America):

*    Eastern Time 6pm

*    Central Time 5pm (subtract 1 hour)

*    Mountain Time 4pm (subtract 2 hours)

*    Pacific Time 3pm (subtract 3 hours)

International (Check for daylight saving time differences)

*    Sao Paulo (UTC -4):

*    London (UTC): 11pm

*    Berlin (UTC +1): 12 midnight

*    Sydney (UTC +9): 8am next day

If the phone rings and you receive a recorded message saying something like

"All circuits are busy, please try your call again later," or you receive a

"fast busy" signal, 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. You might try the call with another long distance

provider by dialing a predial code (a "10-10" code in the USA), or using a

calling card. Some common pre-dial codes are:

*    AT & T = 10-10-288, 10-10-345

*    Sprint = 10-10-333

*    Frontier = 10-10-444

*    MCI = 10-10-321, 10-10-220 (changes form time-to-time)

*    VarTec = 10-10-811

You can also visit the web site www.10-10phonerates.com/ for additional

10-10 numbers.

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.

If these steps fail, we have technical help standing by at the time of the

course at help@advanced-trainings.com or tel. +1 303/499-8811 x3.

Top of page

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 (30-100

callers), please put pets in another room.

5.    Speakerphones, Cell phones and Cordless phones. Please don't use them.

Speakerphones are wonderful things, but we ask that you not speak into them

when sharing. Pick up the handset when you share and put the mute button on

when you're just listening. The clarity/quality simply isn't good enough on

any of these phones.

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 leader 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 director. 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 telecourse number 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.

on 03.06.2002 2:50 AM, Gary Purser at gary@GPASSOC.DEMON.CO.UK wrote:

> I can recall the group discussing teleconferencing some time

> ago and religiously saved the pearls of wisdom, filed them in

> my wonderful system and guess what - I am now involved in

> facilitating one and can't find any of it! So has anyone got

> some guidelines, process advice, hints, do's and don'ts for a

> teleconference of 20 people who have not been involved in one

> before.

Til Luchau

Advanced-Trainings.com

Rural Route 5, 3514 Nyland Way South

Lafayette, Colorado USA 80026

Tel. +1 303/499-8811x3

Fax +1 309/423-9281

Email: info@advanced-trainings.com

Web: http://www.advanced-trainings.com

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Date:    Wed, 15 Mar 2000 08:01:59 -0600

From:    "Michael L. Begeman" <begeman@cmsi.com>

Subject: Re: Meetings via Teleconference

Frank - I've done a lot of teleconferencing - several a week.  Some of the "tips" for doing this effectively are summarized in a several of the Meeting Guides I did for 3M.  Though a couple of the titles say "videoconferencing" about 75% of their content applies equally well to teleconferencing.

Here are the articles...

Remote Meeting Preparation

http://www.3M.com/meetingnetwork/readingroom/meetingguide_location.html

Planning a Videoconference

http://www.3M.com/meetingnetwork/readingroom/meetingguide_plan_video.html

Running a Videoconference

http://www.3M.com/meetingnetwork/readingroom/meetingguide_run_video.html

Leading a Distributed Team

http://www.3M.com/meetingnetwork/readingroom/meetingguide_distribteam.html

If you like these, the complete list of Meeting Guides is at...

http://www.3M.com/meetingnetwork/readingroom/meetingguides.html

Date:    Wed, 15 Mar 2000 08:11:44 -0800

From:    Bill Harris <bill_harris@facilitatedsystems.com>

Subject: Re: Meetings via Teleconference

Frank,

> Does anyone have experience running meeting via teleconference (not video

> conference). I need to conduct a two-hour session with half-dozen or so folks

> teleconferenced in (no one is in the same room as another).

I presume you're describing a phone conference, not a Web-based conference.  (Note that asynchronous Web or email conferences exist and have certain strong advantages.)

One simple tip for a phone conference is to assign people to "locations" when they call in.  For example, you could assign them to times on a clock; if they understand where the hours on a clock face are, they begin to have a mental picture of who is "sitting" where.  You can also make up something else that gives everyone a simple mental picture of who is present and how they are arranged.  Encourage them to write it down for reference during the meeting.  That can be useful if you want to go "around the table" in soliciting inputs from everyone.

If everyone can access the Internet while talking on the phone, I've had success with NetMeeting as a simple flip chart to assist the conversation.  PlaceWare is a nice tool, too, but it may be overkill for such a small group.

Two hours seems near the upper limit of a teleconference without a bio break, both for the typical reason and to give one's ears a break; it helps if people have headphones rather than handsets, though.

In essence, the key is to use audio cues to replace the features you'd normally get in collocated meetings, or get people to write things down locally to substitute for the flip chart you might use in a conference room.  It takes a bit of panache to make it seem natural.

Date:    Wed, 15 Mar 2000 13:20:57 -0500

From:    Bernie DeKoven <bernie@coworking.com>

Subject: Re: Meetings via Teleconference

Frank asks:

Does anyone have experience running meeting via teleconference (not video conference). I need to conduct a two-hour session with half-dozen or so folks teleconferenced in (no one is in the same room as another).

Bernie gleefully responds:

If you would could add a dataconference channel, then, yes in deed, I've a virtual load of ideas for how you can facilitate productive dialog. To catch my conceptual drift, see my website: http://www.coworking.com.

Date:    Thu, 16 Mar 2000 01:07:04 -0500

From:    Ruth Urban <ruth_rug@ix.netcom.com>

Subject: Re: Meetings via Teleconference

Hi All,

In response to the question "Does anyone have experience running meeting via teleconference

(not video conference). I need to conduct a two-hour session with half-dozen or so folks

> teleconferenced in (no one is in the same room as another)."

I have been facilitating a series of teleconferences for committee meetings of a statewide coalition. Usually, half the participants are in the same room with me and several are on the phone, some together and others calling in on a single line. While this might sound sophomoric, don't forget the basics. Have the agenda and all support materials, including copies of anything posted on the walls, like the mission etc. mailed or faxed to the participants in advance. Sometimes additional people join the meeting and they don't have the materials. If possible fax the material right then and there. We always go over the ground rules, one of which is for the speaker to identify themselves when commenting. My role as a facilitator is often to identify who is speaking when the speaker has forgotten to say their name. In order to keep minutes,  the meetings are recorded, only after all participants have agreed to do so.

One challenge that I have encountered is with the portion of the group that are together because they sometimes start discussing issues to the exclusion of those on the phone. My role is to bring them back to the entire group. Because body language is not observable, it is important to  check the status of how an idea is sitting by soliciting comment from those who are silent on the phone. Some committee chairs are better than others in doing this. Using a flip chart is problematic for those on the phone. I will often read what's on the chart, asking those on the phone to jot down notes. Recently, the group had to create a list of options and then prioritize them. The group itself came up with the method to do this.They suggested those in the same room go first and verbalize their selection in prioritizing the list so those on the phone would have the benefit of hearing the options. As has been said often on this list, don't underestimate the wisdom of the group. Seek their ideas when a challenge presents itself, even on the phone.

Date:    Thu, 16 Mar 2000 08:26:17 -0600

From:    "Michael L. Begeman" <begeman@cmsi.com>

Subject: Re: Meetings via Teleconference

Ruth Urban wrote...

> Using a flip chart is problematic for those on the phone. I will often read

> what's on the chart, asking those on the phone to jot down notes.

This "sharing the flipchart" problem reminded me of a solution I've used successfully a few times.  It requires some technical savvy & some infrastructure, but it works.

First the infrastructure: I have a "Mimio" in my office.  It's a $499 gizmo that sticks to a wall or whiteboard with suction cups and turns the surface into a digital whiteboard.  What I write on the board (or wall) shows up on my computer.

Now the technical savvy: I have Microsoft NetMeeting (free) loaded on my computer.  I make sure the remote participants do too, before the meeting.  NetMeeting allows us to "link" our computers together (application sharing) using a standard internet connection.

During the meeting, I stick flip chart paper (or Post-it(r) Easel Pad sheets) on the wall by the Mimio.  What I write on the flip chart paper also shows up on my computer, and on the remote participants' computers too (in color)!  They see what we see in the room.  Very cool.

For more info on the components of this solution...

        http://www.mimio.com/index2.html

        http://www.microsoft.com/netmeeting

        http://www.3m.com/post-it

Date:    Thu, 16 Mar 2000 06:45:41 -0800

From:    Bernie DeKoven <bernie@coworking.com>

Subject: Re: Meetings via Teleconference

Mimio is definitely cool. On the other hand, you can also do the same thing without Mimio, right on your computer. You can share a monitor in the conference room, or even use a data projector.

A lower-tech solution: the fax machine. If you've people in the room and you need to use a flipchart with them, have somebody copy the flipchart down onto a sheet of paper. Send the fax as soon as a sheet gets full, or there's a five minute break, or a subject is closed.

Date:    Thu, 16 Mar 2000 11:13:30 -0600

From:    "Michael L. Begeman" <begeman@cmsi.com>

Subject: Re: Meetings via Teleconference

NetMeeting allows remote users to "see" ANY application running on your PC (provided that you want them to see it).   Your pad & pen undoubtedly came with some software application that displays, on your screen, what's drawn on the pad.  So yes, that would work too.

Last month I wrote a "3M Meeting Advisor" article on remote presentation technology that bumps up against this topic too.  You can read the article (1st one listed) in the Meeting Advisor archives at...

http://www.3M.com/meetingnetwork/interact/archive.html

Date:    Thu, 16 Mar 2000 15:37:04 EST

From:    Clamo88@aol.com

Subject: Re: Meetings via Teleconference

I've done meetings this way as well had a student complete her course after being transferred to Atlanta a third of the way through.  Essentials to success in both types of situations is that any documentation is sent out early, easily referenced during the meeting (PowerPoint slides work well for this, but make sure you put a footer with page numbering in), and time for questions (which also means allowing for silent moments in which people are thinking) is built in.

    Providing documentation early gives people time to prepare comments & questions, and if you do a "notes" form of PowerPoint (or similar program), it gives them room for notes and preparation right on the sheet they'll reference during the meeting.

Date:    Thu, 16 Mar 2000 21:45:24 EST

From:    Frank Hines <ProdIntro@aol.com>

Subject: Meetings via teleconference - thanks

Thanks to all for your messages on teleconference meetings. I got to try out some of your ideas tonite and it was a smashing success.  FYI, I went for a simple teleconference with 9 people; no video, no data.

Used simple ground rules like state your name to speak. Also, used (someone's) idea of polling the group often to allow everyone to chime in on a topic or answer a question. Once we got into it everything went smoothly. Most of all, the client was thrilled and I'll be conducting a series of these over coming months.

From: Group Facilitation [mailto:GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu]On Behalf

Of Michael L. Begeman

Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2000 9:14 AM

To: GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu

Subject: Re: Meetings via Teleconference

NetMeeting allows remote users to "see" ANY application running on your PC

(provided that you want them to see it).   Your pad & pen undoubtedly came

with some software application that displays, on your screen, what's drawn

on the pad.  So yes, that would work too.

Last month I wrote a "3M Meeting Advisor" article on remote presentation

technology that bumps up against this topic too.  You can read the article

(1st one listed) in the Meeting Advisor archives at...

http://www.3M.com/meetingnetwork/interact/archive.html

Date:    Mon, 17 Apr 2000 22:24:43 EDT

From:    Frank Hines <ProdIntro@aol.com>

Subject: Teleconference sessions

A while back, I posted a request for help on running teleconferenced

focus-group-like sessions; I just wanted to thank everyone who offered ideas.

Tonight was my first set of sessions and it was a tremendous success.

We run our own flavor of interactive focus groups (we don't really like to

call them focus groups because there is more emphasis on collaborating with

participants than on market research).

What worked: Moving quickly, not polling people in any given order; it kept

everyone engaged and on their toes. Also, in the intros I asked people to

describe their physical surroundings and (while it did not really make it

more like being in the room together) people got a lot of laughs and it

loosened the group up. Oh, and we had a break in the middle of the session (I

told everyone not to hang up, just lie down the phones); of course, I asked

everyone what they had brought back from the fridge for me. The whole break

idea really energized the call.

From someone's input, I selected the Vialog teleconferencing service and it

was excellent. A lot of cool, easy features that helped me control the calls.

Also, sending out ground rules and other stimulae in advance really helped.

Challenges: The biggest problem was that, since they had to dial in, we had

four (out of 16) no shows. Any ideas on how to get folks to call in at the

appointed hour?

Again, thanks to all! This method is infinitely inferior to face-to-face

sessions but, with your input, I definitely made tasty lemonade out of these

lemons.

Date:    Thu, 3 Aug 2000 23:07:48 -0600

From:    Rosemary Cairns <rcairns@internorth.com>

Subject: Re: Conference Call Facilitation

 Now it's time to jump in and ask a question: What is

> people's experience in facilitating a conference call with 10-15 people

> on-line simultaneously?

I will be interested to hear other responses to Tony's question. Here in

the North, conference calls are a fact of life, given high travel costs,

less travel money, etc. Today, I facilitated a workshop via conference

call that involved 3 of us in one office here, and three people in three

other communities. The goal was to work on a plan for building and

nurturing new partnerships for an organization that is itself a

partnership.

This was, for me, an experiment. It meant that I had to create all of

the things that I normally would use (cards on walls, flip charts, etc)

just from the resources of the people on the phone and my own voice and

facilitation. I asked people to observe the process and provide comments

at the end, which they did.

Here are some thoughts, based on that experience:

1) a clear focus question, reiterated at several key points, is helpful.

I sent this out by email in advance, along with a request that people do

an individual brainstorming to answer the question, in advance of the

workshop. I supported it with a resource document that took other

relevant work that had already been done and highlighted the parts

relevant to our workshop.

2) in lieu of small group work to take brainstormed individual ideas on

to cards, I asked everyone to write down the key thoughts from each

person's brainstorming list as they read it out. Then I asked each

person, in turn, to say what words they noticed other people use.

3) I wrote everyone's name on pieces of paper, even the people

physically present, and used those pieces of paper to make sure I went

around the circle each and every time. This meant everyone knew they

would have a chance to speak. (The suggestion at the end, for improving

the process, was that I rotate the person called on first - so moving

the paper with the first person's name to the end would ensure everyone

had a chance to speak first. And this is a helpful suggestion which I

will incorporate next time.)

4) At the start of the workshop, I asked everyone to tell me what they

wanted to achieve and if they had any time constraints. This revealed

that several people had to be finished earlier than the conference call

was scheduled to end, so then I committed to be finished by that time.

This also helped everyone else to be aware of the time constraints, and

other factors (i.e. one person's office was moving around them, another

person had a sore throat and cough, another person had just been given a

new assignment to complete before 5 p.m.) that were helpful to know.

5) When an issue was raised that people felt was important to discuss, I

proposed a time limit for dealing with it, and some people advised me

they felt this was helpful in assuring everyone that the work planned

for the meeting would get done, while still allowing an important issue

to be addressed.

6) People felt the 1.5 hour meeting was very productive and achieved

much more than they had thought we would achieve, which was very

gratifying.

I will be continuing to experiment with ways to create effective

workshop delivery and strategic planning methods that use conference

calls, as I think we will be doing more and more of this in the North.

It will be a while before we will be able to do electronic meeting

methods consistently in all small Northern communities, so conference

calls will be the mainstay for a while yet, I think. I will be

interested to read about other people's experiences, ideas and

suggestions in this area.

Date:    Fri, 4 Aug 2000 01:08:13 -0700

From:    John Walker <jbwalker@smartt.com>

Subject: Re: Facilitating conference call with 9+ parties on speakerphones

Tony Wong wrote:

> As a lurker to the GF group I've enjoyed the discussions and gleaned

> alot to think about. Now it's time to jump in and ask a question: What is

> people's experience in facilitating a conference call with 10-15 people

> on-line simultaneously?

> The situation is a scheduled 1 hour conference call <snip>

> The objective of the call is to brainstorm and discuss methods for

> approaching the next step in planning process.

I've had no problem facilitating conference calls but the most

I've had was about four people.

There are of course the general problems with conference calls,

such as establishing who is speaking, keeping a common visual

record of the meeting points established, at each location etc.

But you're facing a particular issue that would be a problem in

a face-to-face meeting: getting input from 15 people in one hour!

That gives everyone about 4 minutes each even if you don't say

anything!

It might help to find out what exactly is behind the client's

insistence on this particular forum, and to structure the meeting

to fit that particular need. For example, if it is to get the input

of 9 different offices, would it be possible to get each office

to prepare a three minute focus on their particular issues and

ideas? Then follow up with a two minute response from each

group to the other presentations ("we really agree with 'x' but

disagree with 'y'").

Perhaps this isn't the greatest solution, but my point is simply

that there may be better alternatives to a 60 minutes free-

for-all. In fact, even a 60 minute free-for-all may deliver

nothing coherent but still achieve the client's objectives.

Date:    Fri, 4 Aug 2000 07:44:12 -0400

From:    Martha Lasley <martha@LTWorks.com>

Subject: speaker phones on conference call

Tony -

Speaker phones on a conference call can be totally frustrating. If you can get each person to call in on a separate line, you're better off. I prefer using a bridge line, which you can rent for about $15 / hour. These are some of the tips we share with people who gather on a bridge line.

Bridge Line Tips and Protocol

1. Schedule one full hour of uninterrupted time to participate in the call.

2. Use your telephone mute button if you have background noise. If you don't have a mute button, just call from a very quiet location.

3. If you have a “call-waiting” feature on your line, please disable it before dialing in to the call by dialing *70.  After you hang up, your call-waiting feature automatically resumes.

4. Please do not use speaker phones.  Cordless phones and headsets are usually fine.

5. Since the people on the call can’t see you, whenever you speak, say your name first.

6. Call in precisely at the top of the hour. The first person to call in will hear the phone ring until the second person calls, which opens up the line.

7. If you must leave the call early, please notify the leader. Simply hanging up is not courteous, and is equivalent to walking out of the room.

Thank you for honoring these requests!

As for lack of visuals, I find it helpful to ask people to imagine that we're all in one room and that you'll really have to listen to "see" what's going on. Just like in a face-to-face meeting, you can hear it if people are multi-tasking or disengaged or holding back. As the facilitator it helps to keep track of who hasn't spoken up so that you can draw them in, and it will help people stay on track if you summarize the proceedings by flip charting

everything orally at important stages in the discussion. Group calls are a real test of facilitation skills AND a great learning tool to hone those skills! - Martha Lasley

July 9, 2001

Here are some conference call guidelines we identified in our Open Space

at the IAF Conference.

- Use ice breaker questions with roll call

- Reminder to give name every time you speak

- Ask if all can stay for entire conference call ? then you can adjust

agenda if needed

- Have index cards with each person’s name on to ask each person to say

what they want on each topic.  These can be used in many ways to manage

participation.  Rotate order in using so same person is not always

first.

- Ask everyone to keep notes like their own flip chart.

- Email notes as call is happening

- Try to have the same situation for all on the call (not some in group

and some alone)

- Put phone on mute, when not talking yourself.

- Need to have some face to face meeting.

- Go through list of who needs to do what after call.

- Summarize outcomes at end of call

- Evaluation of call process by each person at end of call.

- Acknowledge accomplishments

- Keep to 1 to 1.5 hours

- Relationship Building ie. like personal calls

Connie Coley Loden

July 10, 2001

For Nadine and others, here are the suggested Audio Conferencing Protocol

checklist from page 162 of Dr. Simon Priest's latest book on Electronic

Facilitation.  Hope this list helps, even though its content may be a

little out of context (without the other supporting pages to explain in

more detail)....

* State your name (and/or location) before speaking

* Connect names to voices (address others by name)

* Speak clearly, slightly louder and slower than usual

* Expect others to experience delays with your voice

* Stand for better voice projection and/or enunciation

* Don't yell, use an active voice and vary your words

* Avoid long sentences and long or complex words

* Overview lengthy ideas before you present them

* Summarize lengthy ideas after you present them

* Take turns talking, one at a time, while others listen

* Expect noise and do your best to listen through it

* Minimize noise by not breathing into the microphone

* Listen carefully and avoid the tendency to interrupt

* Interrupt only when you don't hear or understand

* Ask permission of the moderator to share comments

* Moderator (not facilitator) should control responses

* Moderator should review audio conference protocols

* Moderator usually asks for information sharing first

* Moderator enables a smooth flow of presentations

* Moderator holds question and answer period after

* Consider a headset (reduces keyboard typing noise)

* Switch other phones and pagers to vibrate (or off)

* Disable call waiting (may introduce unusual tones)

* Use mute button (when interrupted or stepped out)

* Don't use hold button (may play background music)

Kimberley Ann Klint, PhD

July 31, 2001

Steve Spreckley asked for "some help... [regarding] ...any thoughts or experiences of improvement goals and performance indicators for improving meeting performance."

Steve, and others who might be interested, we work with virtual teams and so our work is with online meetings.  Nevertheless, some of the basic tenets are the same.  I've attached a list of questions we encourage virtual teams to ask about their meetings during evaluation.  These may assist others with face to face meetings.

For me, the single most objective and effective predictor of meeting "performance" (this is a product/task related function rather than a process/relationship one) is: WHAT IS THE RATIO OF TIME USED FOR SYNCHRONOUS WORK VERSUS ASYNCHRONOUS WORK?  We have someone unobtrusively time the meeting and note when the team is doing work that relates to their reasons for meeting (cocreation and collaboration) and when they are doing work they could have done before the meeting (read disseminated information).  This ratio is a powerful way to see how much the team is working and how much they are wasting.

Here is the list of twelve evaluation questions from Dr. Simon Priest's latest book on Electronic Facilitation of Virtual Teams. 

[ ] Was asynchronous info. sharing done in advance?
[ ] Was synchronous time used fully for collaboration?
[ ] Was a prioritized agenda created? Was it followed?
[ ] Were all invitees present? Why were some absent?
[ ] Were all on time? Were any latecomers disruptive?
[ ] Did the meeting start and/or finish as scheduled?

[ ] Did introductions or conclusions proceed smoothly?
[ ] Did the discussion stay focused? Always on track?
[ ] Did everyone have an opportunity to contribute?
[ ] Were the meeting objectives totally accomplished?
[ ] Did technical problems arise? Were they solved?
[ ] Were proper etiquette or online protocols followed?

Good luck with your improvement project.

Kimberley Ann Klint, PhD

September 17, 2001

"Niziol, Fred" wrote:

> Hi

> I need some ideas. As a result of last weeks events, a JAD session I was to

> conduct has gone from an in-person event to a half-the-

> group-will-be-there-and-the-other-half-are-scattered-across-the-country-and-

> will-be-on-the-phone-JAD. I may have just coined a new term here :). I

Love the acronym: HTGWBTATOHASATCAWBOTPJ.  I can see it as the catchy

title of a session in some future IAF conference, assuming you can

pronounce it. :-)

> haven't done a lot of telephone facilitation. How do you manage multiple

> conversations? Are there specific things any of you like to do when

> facilitating this kind of situation? Fortunately all participants will have

> subject matter documents.

I'm not a JAD facilitation expert, although I was a software quality

manager for a while and am familiar with the approach.  I do lots of

online facilitation and work of varying sorts, though.  Here are some

ideas; we can talk more if you're interested.

First, if you're really doing a phone only meeting, remember that you

need to do with your voice everything you'd do in a myriad other ways.

That means using varying tone and inflection, giving explicit

directions, etc., to compensate for the lack of information organization

a shared visual dimension can provide.  For example, you may want

everyone to write down some things you'd normally put on a flipchart,

and you'll need to ask people to do that.

I'm not sure you can manage multiple conversations well on a purely

phone conference.  You might get away with it using plenty of explicit

direction.

Don't go too long at a time without breaks.  Over an hour gets pretty

lengthy, especially if people have only handsets.  Good headsets do help

(I found one I like that isn't too expensive, and it's good, because

there are days I'm on the phone for a full 8 hours, it seems), but

attention spans can still be a problem.

Have people identify themselves when they talk; don't rely on

recognizing voices, even of people you think you know (or know you).

It sounds like you'll have half the team in a room together and half on

phones.  Consider abandoning the room and using only phones to balance

influence in the meeting and to raise the average level of interaction.

(I have been in successful meetings with speakerphones, but there's

always the problem of the phone-in people being second class

participants in general discussions.)

You might consider augmenting the phone with other tools, if people have

simultaneous phone and Internet connections.  One option is simply to

find NetMeeting or a NetMeeting "equivalent" to be able to show

material, mark on it, and interact in creating documents together.

Bernie DeKoven has talked about his technography approach which could

work for this, especially if you added a graphical component so you and

others could draw pictures (Bernie, excuse me if you already use a

graphical component and I misrepresented you).  There are a number of

interesting possibilities.

You could also do an asynchronous meeting.

http://facilitatedsystems.com/matrix.pdf gives one person's ideas about

when that might be appropriate.  Asynchronous meetings require a bit of

a different mindset than a synchronous meeting (some people might say it

requires a strange mindset to even call it a meeting :-);

http://facilitatedsystems.com/onlinefac.pdf gives a few ideas that could

help in thinking about the approach.

Does that help?  Best wishes.

Bill Harris

September 17, 2001

RULES FOR EFFECTIVE AUDIO-CONFERENCING

!                  Test The Effective Distance A Speaker Can Be From Your Speaker-Phone Microphone

"                  it is usually

_                 no less than 1 foot

_                 no more than 3 foot

"                 be considerate

_                 move the mike to the speaker or the speaker to the mike

_                 add satellite microphones where possible

_                 alert conference coordinator/speaker when you can’t hear

_                 don’t let the meeting go forward until all participants can hear all the time

!                  Call In On Time

!                  Provide To All Participants In Advance 

"                 roster of attendees

_                 take attendance

_                 note absences or substitutions so that attendees can “see” who is in the “conference room”

"                                                         agenda

"                                                         a copy of these rules

!                   Don’t Put An Audio-Conference On Hold

"                 that often adds Muzak

"                 hang up and call back to rejoin conference

!                  Raise Your Hand Before Speaking

"                 by stating your name and location/organization

!                  Eliminate Background Noise

"                 use mute button when not speaking

"                 don’t type, shuffle papers, or have a side conversation when the mike is “open”

!                  Keep it Clear

"                 don’t speak at the same time as another speaker

_                 mikes are noise activated - noise on two mikes means no sound is carried

"                 provide written materials in advance

!                  Break Often For Questions and Clarification

Sam Lane

September 17, 2001

Hi Fred,

I have done a lot of facilitating on conference calls and WebEx so here are

some things that immediately come to mind:

1) Draw a diagram on a sheet of paper indicating the locations people are

calling from.  Then within those locations, list who the people are and what

their role is.  If you can get this ahead of time, you will save some time.

Otherwise do it as part of the introductions to the meeting.

2) If you have a large meeting (more than 7 people), you will need to play a

more directing role than you might normally do.  This is due to telephone

technology where one person gets control of the phone and it is hard to get

it back.  At the beginning of the meeting, suggest to the group how you

would like to have the meeting progress and then modify accordingly.

3).  A good way to start on any topic is to go around the table once,

letting each person speak for a specific amount of time.  Then open up for

general discussion.  This way everyone has had a chance to voice their

opinion without contention on the phone.  If people are grouped together in

a location, you can use that as way to focus questions - "Any questions from

location 1?"

4). Have everyone preface their question/comment with the name of the person

they are addressing or the entire group if that is the case.  For example,

"Dave, what do you think about...?"

5) Set time limits for topics and remind the group when they are coming

close.

6). Try to structure the agenda into small chunks of work with specific

goals.  That helps to divert tangential discussion to the correct topic.

"Thanks for bring that up, George, we will address it during the ____

topic".

7). Don't forget to take breaks.

8). Keep the energy up by using peoples' names, not letting anyone dominate,

going around the table so everyone can participate, setting specific, short

term  targets, taking breaks and checking with the group frequently for how

the process is going.  It is very easy to lose peoples' energy and focus on

the phone.  They are all doing email and reading stuff at the same time.

Feel free to call me if you have any specific items you need help with.

Barbara Elazari

September 17, 2001

Tony Wong asked this question back in August 2000. Below are his summarized

responses. Maybe we can add the ones added today and then have a new faq

for the group?

:

>X-Sender: TonyWong@pop.uniserve.com (Unverified)

>X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 4.3

>Approved-By:  Tony Wong <TonyWong@UNISERVE.COM>

>Date:         Thu, 17 Aug 2000 14:55:18 -0700

>Reply-To: Tony Wong <TonyWong@uniserve.com>

>Sender: Group Facilitation <GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu>

>From: Tony Wong <TonyWong@uniserve.com>

>Subject:      [GF] Update: Surviving facilitating 9 way conference call

>To: GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu

>Hi,

>   Recently, I posted a question about tips for managing a conference call

>involving up to 9 parties and up to 15 individuals in a brainstorming

>session. I'm happy to report I survived the conference call despite the

>potential for chaos. Here's an update on what I learned.

>   Thanks to the folks who provided suggestions on facilitating such a

>challenging venue. In addition to the responses already posted to the

>group, the following are other suggestions I received:

>- Dig a little deeper and find out why the client is determined to have a

>conference call with so many people..

>- Do a reality check: 15 people in one hour gives only 4 minutes per person

>to speak on average.

>- Have participants state their names when they begin speaking "Tony

>here...." so we know who is speaking and the facilitator can call on those

>that haven't said much.

>- Have participants mute their speaker phones to keep background noise to a

>minimum.

>- Confirm that everyone can participate for the duration of the call; if

>someone must leave, to tell the group so we know they left.

>- Participants should be aware if their office phone system pipes in

>background music when they put their phone on Hold if they have to step

>away.

>- Use a dial-in service for the conference call (which we did)

>And this from N. White:

>>I often use "the clock" on conference calls to help people get and keep a

>>sense of place and participation in a disembodied conf call (I use this

>>with structured online chats as well).

>> 

>>I ask every one to draw a circle on a piece of paper and mark the hours

>>like a clock. Then, each person is assigned a spot on the "clock" as the

>>join the group. So the first person is 1 o clock, the second 2, etc. If

>>there are more than twelve, I start adding 1:30, 2:30 etc.

>> 

>>I use this initially for intros -- the first go round, then use it to

>>ensure everyone speaks, and also to match names/voices/input. I often keep

>>little notes on my "clock" as well.

>> 

>>I use this in my online facilitation class (calls with up to 20 people)

>>and the students consistently love this little tip and take it back and

apply

>>it at their workplace. Simple, but works like a charm.

>As an adjunct to the conference call, I set up a Web based forum for my

>clients so people can follow and contribute to the discussions when they

>have time. I used "www.ezboard.com" but there are other free and for-fee

>options available including  www.groupsystems.com. Another suggestion was

>if available, to use Lotus Notes to share information.

>In the end, we had 9 parties and 11 people on the conference call. Four to

>five people did most of the talking. Upon checking with the other

>participants, they preferred to listen and observe. So my concerns about

>trying to keep order didn't amount to much. Nonetheless, I think

>implementing many of the suggestions I received helped a lot.

>The only difficulty (and this is chronic challenge for me) was keeping

>within the time allotted for each item on the agenda. Invariably, I find it

>hard to know when to cut off discussion even though the discussion is still

>on topic and relevant to the particular agenda item. I feel there is

>worthwhile discussion going on but at the same time, the clock is ticking

>away. I wonder how other people handle this?

>Thanks again for all the tips.

>-Tony

January 8, 2002

>From: Ned Ruete <nruete@CSC.COM>

>To: GRP-FACL@listserv.albany.edu

>Subject: [GF] Virtual Meetings

>Date: Tue, Jan 8, 2002, 11:49 AM

> Here's an idea I've been thinking about and I wondered if anyone had tried

> anything similar or had any feedback:

> I've had to facilitate several meetings where only about 1/2 the people are

> in the room and the rest are calling in by speaker phone.  What I usually

> do is use my same facilitation techniques of "Write it down and hang it on

> the wall" -- and then be very careful to review what is on the wall

> frequently and loudly into the speaker phone and ask the remote

> participants if they have any questions or anything to add.

> This led me to wonder whether I could do the same thing when _everybody_

> was dialing in: get a conference room with speaker phone, hang stuff on the

> walls so I can scan it all, and bring people along by frequent reviews.

> I've been a participant on many conference calls, and find that they mostly

> don't work very well.  Before I volunteer to start facilitating them, I

> wanted to run my idea past the group wisdom.

> Any thoughts?

> Ned Ruete

Hi Ned,

You can still practice the time honored practice of 'papering the walls'

virtually using a  combination of web conferencing and an Interactive White

Board such as a SMART Board, Webster Board, or Hitachi's Star Board.  All

participants can be on a conference call and everyone can see the postings

and see your edits real time.  I've found it very effective and notes can be

easily shared as opposed the challenge that presents with the old fashioned

way.  I call the wall paper the 'dead see scrolls' because rarely do they

see the light of day again.

Cheers!

Brad Barrett

Connect Center Inc.

770-607-8450 office

http://www.connectcenters.com

January 8, 2002

Someone asked in a private reply:

> If EVERYONE is meeting via

> a conference call, why would

> you need a conference room in

> the first place?

I need the conference room for two reasons:

1. To stay in my comfort zone as a facilitator

- control the pace of the meeting by the pace of my writing on flipcharts

- see the flow of the meeting by the chronology of flip charts on the wall

- see the agenda, objectives, and list of expected work products by

glancing around

- remember to review where we've been, where we are, and where we're going

by reading the wall at intervals

- use technology I'm familiar with and stay away from technology that I

don't know and that my company won't buy or rent

This is implied in my short phrase, "so I can scan it all".

2. To be able to SHOUT at the speaker phone!!  To be able to use my public

voice without disturbing my cubicle neighbors.  Hmmmmm, maybe that falls

under 1. after all...

January 8, 2002

Ned,

The main reason to "write it down and put it on the wall" is to create a

shared display for everyone in the room, right?  So if you're the only one

in the room, why not type it into a computer and make it available to all

the remote participants so they can see what you're typing?  You can type

into just about any comfortable software -- Word in outline mode is pretty

good.  And you can connect everyone using either point-to-point connections

using Microsoft's NetMeeting (included free in Windows or downloadable from

www.microsoft.com) or one of several web-based "virtual meeting/shared

desktop" applications (http://www.centra.com/econference,

http://www.webex.com, http://www.placeware.com).  (This whole approach has

been advocated by Bernie Dekoven for quite a while ...

http://www.technography.com/index.html).

If you don't type well enough to feel comfortable doing it that way,

consider (i) hiring someone to act as your "technographer" while you

facilitate, or (ii) investing in tools that capture and digitize your

handwriting.  By the way, there's one such tool, from Virtual Ink

(http://www.virtual-ink.com). It's a $499 portable gizmo that turns any

ordinary whiteboard (up to as large as 4 x 8 feet) into an electronic version.

Anyway, my experience is that your remote participants REALLY benefit if

they can actually see what's "on the wall", instead of trying to remember it.

Yours,

Jeff Conklin

January 8, 2002

On Tue, 8 Jan 2002, Jeff Conklin wrote:

> ... And you can connect everyone using either point-to-point

> connections using Microsoft's NetMeeting (included free in

> Windows or downloadable from www.microsoft.com) or one of

> several web-based "virtual meeting/shared desktop"

> applications ...

For Links to Materials on Virtual Groups including virtual

meetings and online facilitation take a look at the grp-facl

resource file:

http://www.albany.edu/cpr/gf/resources/virtual-groups.html

Sandor P. Schuman

January 8, 2002

Ned Ruete wrote:

> This led me to wonder whether I could do the same thing when _everybody_

> was dialing in: get a conference room with speaker phone, hang stuff on the

> walls so I can scan it all, and bring people along by frequent reviews.

What about asking everyone to write key things down on paper for

themselves?  That way, everyone has the visuals, and everyone is

physically involved.

Of course, you'll have to modify what you write down a bit, for it

should be something you can easily describe verbally.

Bill Harris                       

January 9, 2002

Greetings all!

I've read the replies about using a computer for sharing the info....

Doesn't anyone use Mindmaps®?  If you and your facilitatees (!) are familiar

with Tony Buzan's Mind Maps, you can use "Mindmanager" from Mindjet

(www.mindjet.com) to list all your info, share it by Mindmanager's own

Conference facility.  You end up with everyone being able to participate in

building the final "display".

Have fun

Dave Bramwell

January 9, 2002

Hi, Ned!  This (facilitating conference calls or partial in-person and

partial conferenced in) is a dilemma I've wrestled with also.  No major

revisions, but a few tips that have been useful:

1.  Periodically give activities that require people to work either alone or

in the group they're sitting with in front of the conference phone and then

report out to you and the other folks in your room or in other locations.

This allows them to talk freely with the necessary constrictions of

conference calls.  Also, engaging people in an active way is a challenge when

they can get by simply by half-listening.  This has the added advantage of

giving you time to look at where you are from the sheets around the room and

get a sense of direction or course correction.

2.  Use expertise as a trigger for conversation rather than a killer.  For

example, if the market research people are on one phone and the product

development people are on another (or in your room), have the MR folks talk

about three key insights from their research that they would want the others

to know about.  Then turn to the product development folks and ask for their

connections and implications.  Thus, you're facilitating a kind of useful

dialogue between the two groups based on information.

3.  Sometimes it's useful to have people identify themselves every time they

speak and sometimes it's irritating.  I tend now to ask for names when what

is said is controversial or requires clarification or is, simply, a strong

statement.  Or the first time someone talks, have them say their names.

4.  Share a planned flow for the meeting with participants ahead of time in

writing and review it, just as you would in a face-to-face meeting, at the

beginning of the meeting.

5.  Find a way to kickoff the meeting with introductions that have a visual

component.  Maybe as basic as a hobby or self-description.  This helps people

feel they're "in the room" together.

My overall objective is to have people experience the "feel" and flow of a

true face-to-face meeting while accomplishing the task.  So the challenge

becomes how to keep the technology from being a barrier to communication.

Thinking of it that way may trigger some additional ideas for you.

Hope these are helpful.

Peg Kelley

January 9, 2002

I was asked by private reply,

> by "scan it all" are you referring to scanning what's on the walls

> for the telephone attendees to see or, are you scanning and reading it to

> them?  I would think that would make a big difference.  If people on the

> other end of the phone can see what the physical attendees can see, they

> feel more a part of the process and not so isolated.

By "scan it all" I am referring to my _own_ need to be able to look around

the room.  Then as needed I bring the phone participants along on the scan

by reading the highlights.

Basic idea in all this:

I have had no success facilitating by phone.  I asked myself, "How do I get

myself out of the mode of trying to remain interested and take notes but

ultimately disengaging and checking my email?" -- the behavior we're trying

to avoid on the part of participants.

I have had success facilitating meetings when not everyone was in the room.

During at least two of these, one or more of the primary contributors was

not in the room.  Based on participant feedback, my facilitation made the

meeting better than the usual unfacilitated meeting with phone ins.  So,

because no one in my organization is doing any better, I consider myself

marginally competent in that situation.

Therefore I wondered if I would have more success facilitating a meeting

where ALL the partcipants are on the phone if I used the same techniques I

use when SOME of the participants are on the phone.  I've made the leap

from a face-to-face meeting to a meeting where some people called in, by

taking what works for me face-to-face and adding a few new elements to

account for the missing bodies.  I have to be the eyes of the people who

aren't able to physically see what's in the room, and I have to make space

in the room for them to be virtually there when they have something to

contribute.  I can't say the 'what' of those add-ins better than many who

have written about the subject (see, for example, "Best Practices in

Facilitating Virtual Meetings: Some Notes from Initial Experience,"

Mittleman, Briggs, and Nunemaker, _Group Facilitation: A Research and

Applications Journal_, vol. 2 number 2, Winter 2000, pp. 5-14).  But I have

experience in applying them and feeling my way through them.  I have a set

of practiced actions for doing the introductions and opening, the reviews,

the check-ins, the polling, the other stuff that makes the meeting go a lot

better than our usual meeting culture.

So now, to make the leap  to ALL participants on the phone, to me it feels

like it might be good to stay with what has worked for SOME people on the

phone.  A big piece of that is using the media and the surroundings that in

the past I have used to feel "like a facilitator," to have a "facilitator

prescence."    To be an effective facilitator, I have to feel like I'm a

facilitator, and that includes flip charts and standing up and moving

around the room.  I'll have to add a few more elements to account for not

having ANYONE there, like figuring out how to tell when people are getting

tired or fidgety without visual feedback, but I'm thinking that will be

easier than starting over with a whole new approach.

I've even thought of not telling anyone on the phone that I was the only

one physically in the conference room . . . or scaring up a volunteer to be

there with me just because. . .

What do others think?

Ned Ruete

January 9, 2002

Ned Reute,

I've been following your postings about facilitating a phone conference

with .

First, I thought you might like to know there is a Yahoo Groups Online

Moderators discussion group - free to join and participate.  That group

doesn't deal precisely with your question about phone conferences but they

definitely deal with a very related meeting type.

Second, you've already gotten great advice on the online tools (virtual

flipcharts) available to support meetings: chat boards, white boards,

application sharing, surveys, etc.  As I remember, your company is/was not

open to acquiring/leasing any of those.  What a shame, since these tools

are great support for virtual meetings and were undoubtedly developed to

solve exactly the problem facing you.  My advice, for the long term, is

periodically raise the issue of leasing one of those virtual meeting

software systems with your management and try to get their okay to explore

the costs and potential benefits.  My impression is that the leasable

systems are reasonably priced and widely available.

To deal with what you've asked: I have a negative reaction to your idea of

facilitating a phone conference by having a room of flipcharts.  It's not

that the flipcharts wouldn't work, it's that they're unnecessary except for

your sense of "facilitation".  Notes on computer (typed while the meeting

is going on - and periodically faxed to participants) or handwritten notes

on a pad, would work more simply.

Having said that, I can also tell you that (in our organization) the most

important part of transitioning to virtual meetings was becoming aware of

two closely related principles:

     reciprocity

     sensory involvement

When we made the transition, we began educating our meeting moderators on

the principle of reciprocity.  I owe Nancy White (who runs the On-Line

Moderators group) a thanks for this incredibly appropriate term.  Here's

what is meant by reciprocity: a virtual meeting participant's experience is

very "flat" (i.e., very limited sensorially).  So, if a speaker makes a

statement or asks a question, participants need to respond (in some

fashion) in acknowledgement (to engage another of their own senses and give

the moderator some feedback about their involvement and comprehension).

We've found the more senses a moderator can engage the more involved the

participants and the more productive the meeting.  Our education on

reciprocity comes in two parts.  First, we suggest to our moderators that

they use phrases and word their questions in ways that help coach their

participants to respond with feedback and reaction on a continuing basis.

We help them hear the silences and explore the reasons behind it.  We

stress that communication in virtual meetings can't be one-way.  Then, we

coach the participants to do more acknowledgements than they'd normally do

in a face-to-face meeting.

Of-course, we supplement phone conferencing with faxes sent out regularly

during the meeting.  That engages yet another sense.  The faxes record the

progress of the meeting and give people the visual tool that so many need

to really respond.

And people still read their emails during our virtual meetings...but,

perhaps, they do less of it (smile).

Hope this helps.

Betsy Daniel             

January 10, 2002

Ned Ruete wrote:

> So now, to make the leap  to ALL participants on the phone, to me it feels

> like it might be good to stay with what has worked for SOME people on the

> phone.  A big piece of that is using the media and the surroundings that in

> the past I have used to feel "like a facilitator," to have a "facilitator

> prescence."    To be an effective facilitator, I have to feel like I'm a

> facilitator, and that includes flip charts and standing up and moving

> around the room.  I'll have to add a few more elements to account for not

> having ANYONE there, like figuring out how to tell when people are getting

> tired or fidgety without visual feedback, but I'm thinking that will be

> easier than starting over with a whole new approach.

> I've even thought of not telling anyone on the phone that I was the only

> one physically in the conference room . . . or scaring up a volunteer to be

> there with me just because. . .

Well, a facilitator's gotta do what a facilitator's gotta do.  :-)  I

regularly point and gesture when I'm doing online synchronous work, even

though not a person can see me (unless you count one of my cats who

might be wandering by).  OTOH, I've found it easier to do completely

distributed events successfully than events with clusters of people

separated by space (and perhaps time).  Check out

http://facilitatedsystems.com/onlinefac.pdf for a few of the things I've

learned along the way.

You might be interested in asking this on Nancy White's

onlinefacilitation yahoogroup, as well.  FYI: she's starting the next

session of her very good course in online facilitation later this month,

I believe.  That's certainly a good way to get comfortable with this

world.  (Disclaimer: while I know Nancy and am one of her Full Circle

Associates, I get nothing for recommending her class except maybe at

most a thank-you email.)

Bill Harris                

March 6, 2002

Hi Gary

You asked about teleconferencing logistics. Here is a participant info sheet

we've compiled, much of it kindly provided by Telebridge.

We also have a list of "Telecourse Frequently Asked Questions" at:

http://www.advanced-trainings.com/telecoursefaq.html

Feel free to adapt it, and have fun!

Til Luchau

Advanced-Trainings.com

Tel. +1 303/499-8811x3

Fax +1 309/423-9281

Email: info@advanced-trainings.com

Web: http://www.advanced-trainings.com

=======

Information for Teleconference Participants

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 short tone 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 speaking.

In general, please say your name before speaking so that people will have no

difficulty identifying you.

If Something Goes Wrong

First, Double-check the time, time zone, and number of the call. Most

difficulties are solved with this step.

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 (North America):

*    Eastern Time 6pm

*    Central Time 5pm (subtract 1 hour)

*    Mountain Time 4pm (subtract 2 hours)

*    Pacific Time 3pm (subtract 3 hours)

International (Check for daylight saving time differences)

*    Sao Paulo (UTC -4):

*    London (UTC): 11pm

*    Berlin (UTC +1): 12 midnight

*    Sydney (UTC +9): 8am next day

If the phone rings and you receive a recorded message saying something like

"All circuits are busy, please try your call again later," or you receive a

"fast busy" signal, 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. You might try the call with another long distance

provider by dialing a predial code (a "10-10" code in the USA), or using a

calling card. Some common pre-dial codes are:

*    AT & T = 10-10-288, 10-10-345

*    Sprint = 10-10-333

*    Frontier = 10-10-444

*    MCI = 10-10-321, 10-10-220 (changes form time-to-time)

*    VarTec = 10-10-811

You can also visit the web site www.10-10phonerates.com/ for additional

10-10 numbers.

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.

If these steps fail, we have technical help standing by at the time of the

course at help@advanced-trainings.com or tel. +1 303/499-8811 x3.

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 (30-100

callers), please put pets in another room.

5.    Speakerphones, Cell phones and Cordless phones. Please don't use them.

Speakerphones are wonderful things, but we ask that you not speak into them

when sharing. Pick up the handset when you share and put the mute button on

when you're just listening. The clarity/quality simply isn't good enough on

any of these phones.

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 leader 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 director.

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 telecourse number 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.

March 26, 2002

Your remember the thread from a while back about running a meeting with

flip charts even when everyone was calling in?

Well, I did it -- sort of.  I volunteered (first mistake) to facilitate a

meeting with everyone calling in.

- I reserved a conference room

- I got a scribe (one of the other members of the participant group is in

the same building with me and has facilitation and scribing experience)

- I sent out initial materials to all participants the day before the

meeting

- I printed out the agenda, objectives, and work products on 8 1/2 X 11in

big letters so I could read them -- and promptly forgot them.  I should

have put them on the wall.

- I put charts on the wall where I could write things down as I heard them,

I could read them back, and the scribe could get them in the computer and

email them to participants (nice thought, but as the battle plan -- which

failed to last 15 minutes contact with the enemy -- evolved, there were no

natural break points for sending out updates)

- I put a chart for action items which, as I filled in, I read to everyone

and got concurrence on who got the item and the due date.

Not the best meeting I've ever run, but far and away the best conference

call I've been on in a long time.

BTW -- the scribe thought it was a great idea -- she empathizes with with

me because there's no way she could type into a document or other tool and

still facilitate -- traffic cop, intervener, synthesizer, recapper, process

police...

Even if I had web tools so that people could see what was being typed real

time, I think I'd want do it this way, at least at first.  I'd want to have

a scribe while I facilitate, and then scribe while someone else

facilitates, and maybe after awhile I would reach the facility with the web

tools as I have with markers and paper and would try doing both at once and

saving the trees.

Ned Ruete

Waterford, CT USA

April 18, 2002

Hello folks

I've used the mimio system.  It's good, but I tend to outrun it when I

start drawing, leaving me with jerkey lines and missing bits.  I also have

to be careful how I hold the pen.  Being I'm used to handling whiteboard

pens in a "caligraphic" style, so I get both broad strokes and thin lines,

I end up messing up my mimio work unless I'm mindful that it doesn't do

that.

The software that comes with the mimio is great as it's very much oriented

around how the facilitator needs to move from page to page.  You can end

up with a file containing each page distinctly separated from each other,

you can go back to old pages for the group, which is great if your working

with it through a virtual meeting format (like for example you have a MS

Netmeeting session going between several far flung locations).  being able

to go back and pick up where you left off on a previous thought brings

everyone right there mentally.

Of course I'm very graphic centric in my work, which most of you are not,

so for my purposes  I actually have better luck with a wacom "graphire3"

tablet that plugs into the usb port on my laptop.

Since I work "virtually" quite a lot, I can sit in my cube and have a

quiet "virtual" meeting with some distant place using a phone and my

tablet to talk with a remote group-and they see in real time what I'm

sketching.  Considering I work for Boeing, which is spread across most of

the known world, being able to come in live, talk, draw, modify and mess

with is really critical to our group efforts and "virtual teaming".

In any case, the mimio is a good thing, IF you consider how it's

limitations effect how you work.  I can imagine doing open space work with

it across the internet, and having everyone wherever, see their inputs

come to life before their eyes, which I think is a pretty good thing,

later

Michael Erickson

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

From Royleenw@aol.com Tue Apr 27 16:41:38 1999

Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 14:44:06 -0400 (EDT)

From: Royleenw@aol.com

To: GRP-FACL@LISTSERV.ALBANY.EDU

Subject: Summary, One Participant by Phone

For all who responded, thanks so much. I did do a bit of prep work, got in

touch via email with Mr. Telephone, had a fax and e-mail connection ready at

the meeting, and used more handouts than usual, so he could *see* what we

were doing. Then, he never called in that day! He must have gotten another

urgent duty, because the group told me he has never missed a meeting before!

At any rate, I learned a lot, because of all of you who helped me out. Here

is a summary of the responses, and thanks, again! This group is the best!

Royleen White

Original Message:

<< I was thinking that when I have them in small groups, I could assign Mr.

 Telephone to one of the small groups, and they could be responsible for

 including him in their exercises and report outs. I have a slight concern, in

 that I tend to have the groups do a lot of visuals and drawings in visioning

 project. I suppose we could ask him to draw too, and report out that way.

Any  other suggestions or tips for this situation?

  >>

Responses:

It sounds as if the most experienced person here is Mr Telephone himself.

Prior to workshop I would try to speak to him before the meeting, talk

through the process and ask him his advice on what works best for him.  This

could apply to both the communication process and content

Denis Cowan

-----------

Can Mr. Phone be near a fax machine?  B&W 8X10s are not the same as full

color flip charts, but might bridge the gap.

Ned

----------------

I once taught a course in a company where one participant was relocated to

Atlantic for the duration.  The course materials relied on handouts and

overheads to enhance discussion.

  I would mail each week's materials to her in advance (including paper

copies of the transparencies) so she could follow along over the telephone

and participate fully.  It worked well for us.

  What you need to add is the ability for graphics to be exchanged in "real

time," if at all possible.  Access to a fax machine on both ends with a

separate telephone line from the conference call might work.  That's if you

don't have the sophisitication of videoconferencing (which I suspect you

don't).  Videoconference via a computer setup (digital cameras at both ends)

might also be viable--you'd have to talk to a local media supplier.  You'd be

surprised at how sophisticated they've become--it's often more than they

typical "av" stuff they have!

Good luck.

Claire A. Murray, Director of Community Computing, MATV

-----------

How much access do you have to computers and the web? If you've enough, you

can include this person via NetMeeting from Microsoft and a couple phone

lines.

Let me know, and I'll forward the details.

Bernie

---

I have experience with facilitating this type of group.  Please feel

free to call and we can discuss it.  Your idea of assigning Mr. Phone to

a small group is excellent.

Lisa Hughes

WorkLife Associates

---------

I am a long-distance telecommuter and have on occasion been the one who is

phoning-in to an in-person meeting.

I recommend three preparations:

1)  Ask the caller ahead of time how it has worked for him in the past,

things he would like you to keep in mind, and his "wish list" of what would

make it easier for him to participate.  HE's done this before, so he's your

expert.  You should also explain to him what you want the group to do and ask

for his advice on how he could best participate.

2)  Ask the appropriate person in the office what they've found is the best

way to help this guy participate.  In my case, they wouldn't be able to

answer you, but other offices may be more experienced and thoughtful!

3)  Make absolutely sure the phone equipment you're going to be using is in

working order and that you know how to use it.  Know where it's going to be

in the room(s) you're using.  Find out if you can vary the sound level,

whether there's a mike to turn off and on, how long the cord is, and what the

sound quality is.  You may need to assign someone to making sure that your

phone participant is hearing everything he needs to hear.  Worse, you may

need to assign someone to repeat what he says if the equipment isn't good

enough that everyone in the room can hear him when he talks.  Hopefully,

though, neither of these will be necessary, although I've found that there

are certain people I can hear and certain people I can't, just because of

their voice volumes and pitch.  Sometimes I can get these people to speak up,

and sometimes I give up.  If the facilitator can be especially aware that

people have to be exceptionally clear and loud in speaking (or, at minimum,

looking in the direction the phone mic is), that would be very helpful.

Otherwise, I'd say making this work is really up to them.  When you're

calling in, you have a lot of responsibility to ensure you can participate.

If the company's the one that's sending him traveling, then they have a lot

of responsibility to ensure he can effectively participate, too.  This one's

not all on your shoulders.

Loree Cook-Daniels

-----------

I am part of a team based in North Carolina.  We've done this often, & it

can be ugly!  Here are some things I've learned the hard way:

- Send out a detailed agenda ahead of time.  Include directions for the

activities and page numbers for easy reference.

- Use a fax to send pictures back and forth.  This means making them on

overheads or plain 8 1/2 x 11 sheets, rather than easel pads.

- Check in with Mr. Telephone often and ask if he has any comments,

questions, etc.  Ask the group to use the same discipline.

- Arrange for a contact outside of the room so that, if he gets cut off, he

can get back into the action quickly, instead of dialing back in and getting

a busy signal.

- Definitely have him be part of a small group.  He can actually do some of

the report out if he's comfortable.  It will make him a more "visible" part

of the larger group.

- If he doesn't know the other group members, have some of them call and

introduce themselves to him prior to the meeting.

- It's great if you have a picture of him to share with the group.

- Tend toward more structured input from the group - e.g. going around the

table for comments.  It will make it easier for him to hear the responses &

easier for him to give his opinions.

Good luck!

Louanne Klein/Distance Learning Consulting, Lafayette, CA

-----

The techniques used for teleteaching and video tele-conferencing apply.

Keeping it low tech may be required:  an interactive participant guide that

is available to all participants is a good idea. Time to develop it is a key

constraint.

Swan, Steve R. SETA CONTR

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