December 9, 2010
Telecons are not meetings
Don’t get me wrong. Multi-person telecons are great. They allow global organisations and us work-at-home folk to stay connected, to progress projects and to reduce travel bills. All good stuff in the Age of Austerity.
Like their cousin, the multi-addressed email, they are not great for situations that have become tricky and require debate and compromise. If you can’t see someone, it’s hard to read their views and their motives when it matters.
Let’s be honest. More and more of us live in Outlook, and if we schedule a telecon, we don’t schedule thinking time or walk-around-the-block time before it. On the other hand, when we go to a live meeting, there is always a journey, creating time to collect thoughts and focus ideas. So people “arrive” at telecons only half-focused, and (in some cases) only half-present, continuing other on screen tasks as they half-participate.
Which is the main point: a telecon is a half-meeting, not a substitute for a real one. If you need a real meeting, maybe you need to book one.