Improve team conference calls with a very simple trick
Create a single frame video conference using a peopleclock to help participants concentrate and engage better.
I discovered this very simple technique in an article in the Harvard Business Review, Can Absence Make a Team Grow Stronger
One of the problems of audio-only conferences is keeping concentration when you lack any visual stimuli.
Its also aggravated if you have never met some of the people on the call or know what they look like - you can't "put a face to the voice".
The technique is simply to create a single A4 page with a small photo of everyone in the call each located at a different time on the clock.
In other words - a Peopleclock.
Everybody keeps this peopleclock visible (either on their screen or via a hard copy print-out) for the duration of the call.
So when a participant speaks either for the first time or when they have not contributed for a bit they just say "Its Ken here at 3 o’clock" or "This is Joe at 9 o'clock".
You would be amazed at how just glancing at the speaker’s picture as they talk can bring more life into the call and makes it easier to avoid your mind wandering.
It is like a single frame video conference - very simple, very cheap, very low-tech, no software downloads or web-cams required - but actually very effective.
Bioteams Books Reviews
Belbin sees Bioteams as the next step. Dr R Meredith Belbin, regarded as the father of "team-role" theory and one of the worlds foremost experts on teams predicts that we will evolve into bioteam forms. In his book "The Coming Shape of Organisation" Belbin picks out five observations human teams need to learn from "a diminutive masterclass" of social insects such as bees, ants and termites.