Recognize and accomodate time differences. The majority of RDA members may be clustered around the North Atlantic, but we are a global organization and are trying to be more so. We need to be respectful of people in Australia, east Asia, and elsewhers. Pay attention to where callers are located and plan accordingly. The vagaries of when different places switch between summer time and standard time (if they switch at all) makes it all the more difficult. Timeanddate.com is a very useful site for planning things out and scheduling meetings. XKCD provides a nice visual representation of what time it is now all around the world. Be mindful of meetings at the beginning or end of the week because these may extend into the weekend for some participants.
Even with careful planning though, there is no time that works for everyone. As a result, some groups like TAB and OAB have implemented a rotating schedule that distributes the pain more fairly. Here is an example (note this is during summer time in the N. Hemisphere):
|date 2||21:00||15:00||17:00||22:00||23:00||7:00 (next day)|
Regardless, of how you schedule things it is a good idea to baseline to Coordinated Universal Time or UTC (essentialy the same as Greenwhich Mean Time or GMT). Always include the time in UTC when informing people about a meeting. UTC doesn't change with the seasons and people can convert themselves. Also given how much people travel, you can never be really sure where everyone is.
Use conferencing tools effectively. Some basic rules:
- Unless you have a good computer mike and quiet room, use a headset.
- Mute yourself when not speaking (remember to unmute when speaking)
- Slow down. Give people time to jump in. Speak clearly and succinctly. Pause before speaking or passing the line to someone else.
- If the tool has a text chat feature, use it! It can be a great way to take a quick poll, register agreement, share links, etc. Chat can make telecons go much faster and more effectively (if it doesn't get overwhelming)
- Consider recording the meeting. It makes a nice record that you or others can return to. Make sure evryone knows they are being recorded, though. Both Goto and FM allow recording.
Be extra polite. Recognize that much nuance and subtlety is lost. Be careful with your jokes. Make sure everyone gets a chance to speak.
What other tips do people have for successful telecons?