Monthly Archives: January 2013

Conf-call etiquette #1: Why are my conference calls noisy?

By | Conference call, my Global Conference, Teleworking, Tips | No Comments

We have all sat through conference calls that were difficult to follow… most likely reason? Noises on the line…

Yes, we hear background sounds, cracking sounds or booming sounds and wonder what it is.
Well, its nothing more than sounds that are picked up by the microphones of the callers on the conference call. Some of us might be taking the call from an airport lobby, a car or simply from a public space with lots of ambient noises. Sometimes the office itself is noisy and the desktop phone picks it all up!
It is good practice to put yourself on mute when not speaking in a telephone conference. This avoids all noises to be passed on to the rest of the callers. When you do have to speak, just un-mute yourself and talk. When you are talking, today’s microphones and recording technologies will suppress the background noise since your voice will be much louder (its a matter of signal-to-noise ratio in techno-speak).
To put yourself on mute during a conference call, press the mute button on your phone, not the hold button
Most desk phones and mobile phones have a mute button, it usually looks like this:

When you press “hold” a music is usually played to entertain the person on hold… this means that if you do that during a conference call, everyone will be hearing the music!, moreover, when on hold you will not be able to hear anyone speak as the speaker volume is also turned off… so you will not be able to hear the complaints of the people on the line. The hold button cannot be missed, it usually looks like this:

Alternatively, if you want to be sure that you do not mistake hold for mute, in a call you can enter *1 to mute and un-mute yourself.
Have great conferences!


Remote hiring anyone?…

By | Teleworking, Uncategorized | No Comments

We had an interesting question the other day on “remote hiring”. This triggered our interest and hence this post was born to try to share what we know about this practice.

Remote hiring can be read in two ways:

The process of hiring remotely to work on site (i.e. without or with minimal face to face contact)

This is a practice that I have experienced personally, for one myGC does this. More and more companies go further than screening candidates by phone, they will hold actual interviews by phone (using call conferences to have various representatives of the employer present), some will go as far as hiring the candidate without a single face to face meeting. One word of advice, be ready to experience this by treating the phone interviews as seriously as you would treat a “traditional” in person interview. On the other hand, you, the candidate, should also be entitled to see in person the premises of your future potential employer. So if you do get an offer, don’t be shy to ask to visit before you sign! there is nothing wrong with this!

The process of hiring staff that will work from a home office or away from the main premises (eg. telecommuting)

In this space we distinguish between companies looking for remote freelancers and companies looking to hire in person staff that will work remotely (always or part or the time). The latter being usually referred to as telecommuting or remote working (although the first kind is also)

We see multiple companies that are specializing in connecting offer and demand (,,, just to name a few…). They focus mostly on time-bound or task-bound freelance missions. The fact that the employer and employee will interact remotely being a pre-requisite.

When looking for full time staff that will agree to work remotely the usual hiring process is applied, the fact that part or all of the work will be done remotely is usually mentioned in the offer or job posting. Actually it is usually mentioned as a benefit or perk!. If not mentioned, and you believe you could be accomplishing your tasks remotely, don’t be afraid to ask!

Have great conferences!

Tip #2: how to dial into conference calls at lightning speed…

By | Conference call, my Global Conference, Teleworking, Tips | No Comments

In Tip#1 we learned to save our favorite local access numbers and moderator pin codes into a contact to auto-dial into a conference. This time we want to share a bit of conference call scheduling etiquette.

Include the local access number a couple of pause signs and the participant call into your calendar invites or emails

When we send out an invitation to a conference call to the participants in an email or calendar invite we should always add in the body of the email or invite the full list of local access numbers and the participant pin. Well, we can do much more as a courtesy to those of us dialing in from a mobile to “jump into the call” very fast:

– Add the participant code to the end of the local dial in number preceded by a couple of commas “,” (a comma is a ~3 sec. dialing pause)

I tend to do this by placing the number in the “location” field (or “where” or “place” field) of the invite, that wayit is more visible to the recipients of the invitation. But it is really up to you. (do not leave blanks within a number)

By doing this we are allowing smartphone users to just tap or click the number to instantly dial the number, pause and enter the pin all in one move!
In the case pictured above, as I know that my participants are in Italy, France and or Belgium I just added the 3 relevant locations. Add more or less as necessary!
Ask your colleagues and friends to do this as a courtesy to you as well, ask your assistant to do this when scheduling your meetings!
I hope you find this tip useful!,
have great conferences!


Tip #1: How to dial into a conference call at lightning speed!

By | Conference call, my Global Conference, Teleworking, Tips | One Comment

Welcome to the new year! This year, on top of our regular posts on telecommuting and working remotely, we will be hosting a series of posts on how to make conference calling more quick and efficient.

Nowadays, many of us dial into conference calls using a mobile or smartphone, and we all know that typing the local access code and the pin code takes a while (plus the frustration of having to look for the code in an email or calendar invite by switching applications etc… ). But that should not be a problem….

Insert a “,” when dialing a number for a 3~5 second pause

Most mobile phones allow you to dial a number including “pauses”, this is usually done by typing a comma ( “,” ) between the numbers you wish to dial automatically. You can also save phone numbers into your contact list including “pauses”!

For instance if you save number +390699268374,1234567 your mobile phone will dial +390699268374 first, then wait 3 seconds and then dial 1234567. This is very useful when you need to dial an extension after the main number of a company; but it can also be a very useful trick to dial into conference calls!

I recommend adding two commas for a total of 6 seconds of pause between the number and the pin code just to be on the safe side! Most phones support the comma (“,”), but many phones (Blackberry, iphone and many android smartphones) support the letter “p” or “x”. Check out your user manual or simply test it!.

Save your own reservationless conference favorite dial-ins and moderator pin code in your mobile’s contact list.

What I do is that I save my most used local dial-in numbers followed by two commas and my moderator pin code in my smartphone’s contacts list, so when the time comes to dial-in to my call, I just call up the saved contact and auto-dial into the conference! that easy!

The entry looks like this:

<Local dial-in number>,,<my reservationless conference moderator pin code>

(note that the comma might appear as a “p” in some phones)

I have one entry like this per local dial-in I frequently use (in my case Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy), and I add more as I need. That saves me a lot of time and hassle!

I hope you find this first tip useful,

have great conferences!