Increasing your awareness of these tips and agreeing to follow them will help you and other participants enjoy (and get the most out of) your tele-group/event experience.
Please note your participation in any of our telegroup events signifies your agreement with these guidelines. If you do not agree, please do not participate. While the list is quite lengthy, it is especially helpful for new teleclass participants and more experienced attenders will appreciate the detail as well.
1. What’s Needed: A telephone and an interest or curiosity in the subject of the event, class, group or discussion. It is not necessary to be at your computer during the event. Have paper and a pencil or pen available. Anything else required for a particular event/teleclass/discussion/group will be mentioned in the initial announcement email if it’s a class or discussion that doesn’t require formal registration or in the confirmation notice email that is sent when you register if it’s a class/discussion requiring formal registration.
2. Confidentiality and Class Etiquette: You agree to not share the private teleclass bridge line number(s) with anyone. Confidentiality of participants is absolute. Anytime you participate in any of our group functions, whether it be inperson or over the phone, you agree not to share details of each other’s life or business outside the group, especially in a manner which might identify the source. Discussion about other group members must be confined to that particular group meeting or event. Barb Elgin is not liable for group members who fail to follow this rule, as it is impossible to control another person’s behavior. Because time is precious, storytelling is to be kept to a minimum – the focus is on each participant’s future goals, problem solving and personal growth. If you decide to support another team member, you must do so by asking permission first, and remind receiver of your positive intent. If you are participating in one of our single’s programs, it is not appropriate to date other group members while you are in the program. Coach may ask a member to leave if he or she is disruptive to the group process. Participants understand that coaching is not therapy or consulting services and we make no guarantee as to the results participants achieve. Payment is due in advance by the first of the month to continue your membership and you must notify Barb Elgin in writing at least one week in advance to avoid a credit card charge.
3. Preparation and Privacy: Make sure to set aside enough time before, during and after the event/class/group/discussion for uninterrupted time to prepare, participate and absorb what you gained from the class. You’ll be much more “present” to participate and learn if your mind and body can relax and focus.
Also, please keep in mind that if you call from a telephone at work your employer most likely has access to your telephone line. If you have any concerns about your employer or co-workers overhearing or monitoring your call, I would highly recommend that you not call from your work telephone.
4. Recording Telegroup Events: You are prohibited from recording any telegroup event. Barb Elgin reserves the right to tape certain telephone events, and to use these recordings in whatever form and format she desires after the taping, including for sale. She will always notify participants in emails announcing the event and on the day of the recording, so that you have the option of how much privacy you wish to maintain if you decide to speak during the call.
5. Disable Call Waiting: Please, disable any call waiting feature. Aside from being disruptive, bridges can get hung up (unusable) for days if someone “flashes” over to check the other line. In most locations, dial *70 before calling into the bridge if you have call waiting. Participants may hear an unexpected brief dial tone that is annoying for some to hear.
6. Time Schedule: Unless otherwise stated, the standard time zone for teleclasses in the United States is Eastern Standard Time (EST) (in the fall/winter for North America or Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (spring/summer in North America). Make certain that you put the correct time on your schedule and call in at the correct time. You may want to review time translations at http://www.timeanddate.com.
7. Call In Time: Call the bridge line number provided you for this class precisely at the top of the hour. And, don’t call the bridge number trying to reach the leader at other than the appointed time. If you do, you might interrupt other classes being held on that number or there won’t be anyone “there.”
8. Joining the Call: When you call in, participants may hear a beep or a ring so they know someone has joined the call but no one will know it’s you. Or, because I use a variety of types of telebridge lines, some lines are very quiet so you may not hear anything. I will always spend the first few minutes announcing I’m on the line and welcoming callers. If there’s time, I may invite newcomers to announce their arrival by saying, “Hi, who just joined the call?”. If you’d like to check in, in say something like, “Hi, this is Joan Smith from Denver.” For classes and groups where you formally register, I will also be checking against the registration list to see that all participants are registered and all registrants are present.
9. Be on time: Please be on time for the discussion. If you’re late, dial in and be silent until you catch on to what’s being discussed. I/leader may or may not formally welcome you but probably won’t so as to not disturb the flow of the call. That doesn’t mean you’re not welcome!
10. Leaving Early: If you know you will need to leave the class early please tell the leader when you first come on the call. This should not become a regular habit! If for any other reason you must leave early, if you: have been a listener only, know the discussion is being taped, don’t want to interrupt the conversation and there is a large number of people on the call, it’s probably okay to just hang up. If it’s a small group and you have been talking/participating, you should notify the leader. When you do hang up without announcing it to the group, the other participants will hear a beep that might be annoying, particularly if they aren’t prepared for it.
11. Leaving the Call: When the class is over, feel free to say goodbye to everyone and just hang up. Please don’t stay on the line after the call is over as the telephone system needs to reset itself for the next call.
12. Line and Background Noises and Other Distractions: Common line noises include the beeps heard when someone joins the call and the brief dial tone heard when someone leaves the call. Other line noises include echoes and static. If the line noise is too distracting and the problem can’t be corrected, the leader may ask participants to hang up and call back in to the same or an alternate backup bridge line number.
When necessary, use your telephone’s mute button if you have one. Background noise can be distracting to everyone on the call. If you don’t have a mute button, call from a very quiet location. If your dog tends to woof a lot, please put Fido in another room. If you have a cat that likes to bother you when you’re on the phone, ditto. If you have a two line phone or other phones in the area where you will be taking the class, be sure to turn off all ringers before calling in. If you don’t, and you get a call during the teleclass, it can be a really shrill noise that everyone hears. And, avoid broadcasting keyboarding clicking noises during the teleclass by not keyboarding during the class, muting the call while keyboarding, or repositioning your mouthpiece or microphone so the sound isn’t picked up.
13. Mouthpiece or Microphone Position: Position your mouthpiece or telephone headset microphone a bit away from your mouth and nose to avoid broadcasting your breathing sounds. OR, better yet, mute your phone when you are listening/not speaking. If your phone doesn’t have a mute button, the leader should announce at the beginning of the call what numbers to push to mute and unmute your phone.
14. Speakerphones: Please don’t use them unless you use the handset when you share and put the mute button on when you’re just listening. Speakerphones are wonderful things but the clarity/quality generally isn’t good enough for a teleclass.
15. Cordless Phones: Cordless phones (at least 900 mhz) most often work fine for a teleclass if you stay close to the base unit. If you or others hear recurring static or echoes, we will need to problem-solve the source.
16. Headsets: Headsets are highly recommended for comfort during the call. You will find a wireless headset to be very comfortable and convenient.
17. Cellular telephones and computer-based dial-ups: Not recommended and highly discouraged. Telebridge technology does not support computer -based phone technology. And, please do not use cellular phones if you’re moving. Cell phones are affected by atmospheric conditions and satellite problems as well as crossed signals, all of which can affect the quality of the telebridge.
18. Sharing: The leader will usually ask for callers to share or respond throughout the call. To manage a group who cannot “clue” into each other visually, please wait with comments until you’ve been invited to comment. If/when you do share, say something like, “Barb (or the leader’s name), this is Sue from Minneapolis.” The leader will say, “Yes, Sue, go ahead.” Then you can say whatever you’d like to say. Always use the leader’s name and wait until she/he responds indicating that you can proceed. Your leader will attempt to keep an interesting pace. Note: On smaller calls, formality usually isn’t needed and there is a natural flow to people sharing and discussing.
19. Commenting: If you want to comment on something that another caller has said, please keep your comments constructive and positive and as short as possible (to allow others to be included). Don’t say things llike, “I disagree with Bob…,” or “I take exception to that…,” or “That’s wrong…,” even if true! Just say what you want to say and if you want to relate it to another caller’s comment, make it constructive and positive!
20. Cross Talk: Please minimize cross-talk between class members since it interrupts the leader and the flow of the class. If another caller says something that you want to comment on or ask more information about, don’t speak to the person directly; rather, go through the leader, at least at first. Let the leader play traffic cop. You could say something like, “Barb, can I ask that Mary rephrase the point she just made?” Note: Again, on smaller calls, this isn’t as necessary, but on the large calls, it really is.
21. Troubleshooting: We rarely have bridge problems, but should this occur, please read the following:
Funny Noises? Echoing? Static?
If the bridge makes funny noises (buzzing, screeching, tapping), everyone should hang up and call back. Often times, this is caused by someone’s bad connection and can develop into an echo, static, etc. It’s difficult to assess exactly where the bad connection is with many callers from all corners of the world.
Dropped Off the Bridge?
If you get disconnected, simply call back into the bridge. Sometimes it is the bridge itself, and sometimes a temporary break in your long distance service causes a drop to occur.
If you call the bridge and the phone rings endlessly, this could mean:
- Wrong Bridge Number. Of course, you’ll want to locate and dial the correct bridge number.
- Number was Misdialed. Check the number and dial again carefully.
- Called Early/First Caller. If you are the first caller, the phone will ring endlessly until someone else calls in – then you’ll be automatically connected. If you are first or early, let it ring about 15-20 times, hang-up and call again.
- Translated the Time Incorrectly. You may want to review time translations at http://www.timeanddate.com.
If you call a bridge and the phone stops ringing, you know you’re connected with another caller. Simply say hello and introduce yourself. Other participants and your teleclass leader will check in shortly.
Message “All Circuits Are Busy” or Fast Busy Signal?
- Sometimes the problem is not with the bridge, but with YOUR long distance carrier. Sometimes the problem is with your regular long distance service or the pre-dial long distance service. For instance, some people use pre-dial codes (such as 10-10-811 before placing the long distance call). Before making a request to check for trouble, always try another long distance method (or phone) to see if it’s the bridge or your line…
- Oh No! Usually this means that there IS bridge trouble. If this happens, please contact Barb Elgin immediately.
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