Objections to Teleconferences

Experts at MIT believe that a telemeeting is not as effective as an actual meeting, contending that transmission of a person’s image and words is “a far cry” from getting a “sense of a person’s presence”. Others have coined the phrase “telenerd” to describe people who “fall into a paralysis of self-consciousness” when they see themselves on a monitor. Still some Miami French translators believe that the medium creates hostility among strangers who first meet at a telemeeting. Despite what the experts say, companies like telemeetings and are using them often.

Teleconferencing Applications

Like word processing and electronic mail, teleconferencing saves time and money, while also establishing a more efficient information flow. AT&T charges $2,380 for a one-hour teleconference between New York and San Francisco. “That’s about what it would cost three company executives to fly round-trip to the meeting.”, says one provider of Portuguese translation in Washington DC.  Add to flight costs the costs of taxi fares, meals, lodging, and gratuities – and most important, the salaries of the travelling executives and the practicality of teleconferences become clear. In addition, a number of web based solutions are much more affordable.

Traditionally, some companies flew their top managers from around the country for weekly meetings. Now, the company saves money, time, and the strain of travel on its employees by holding weekly teleconferences. Consider, too, that research conducted by one Saint Louis translation services indicates that at least 50-percent of all air fares come from business people traveling to and from meetings. Teleconferencing may not excite airlines, but companies realize the potential.

Beyond teleconferencing’s savings in money and time, conferees point to additional benefits. Time is usually limited; meetings and thus more productive, efficient, and informative because conferees digress less and follow their agendas more closely. A teleconference also gives junior staff (who would not ordinarily be invited because of the expense) a chance to participate in a conference.

Teleconferences and Translation

The word tele derives from the Greek word, meaning “far off.” Conference refers to a formal meeting where a group gets together to discuss or consult important matters. Thus, a teleconference is a meeting among people in different locations. Many Denver translation services companies report that this form of conference is quickly gaining favor as a means of interpreting costs for companies needing translation services. In fact, ARCO projects a $60 million annual savings in travel costs by using teleconferences.

Methods for holding conferences

A number of conferencing methods are lumped under the term “teleconference.” Most providers of Spanish translation in Dallas claim that the oldest and best-known method is the telephone conference. Here, usually two-to-four people are connected by phone lines for a conference. Although quite useful, this method has limitations since it does not allow for the face-to face exchange often necessary for business meetings.

A second method involves a group of people meeting via electronic mail links for a computer conference. They establish a prearranged meeting time and hold their conference using computers. Like phone conferences, these are inexpensive, but they lack the immediacy of face-to-face meetings. One major advantage of this method over a telephone conference is that those “attending” the conference have the full resources of their computers at hand. They can therefore call up any necessary data and check figures without having to interrupt the conference. Businesses are using computer conferences increasingly to write reports where information comes from different offices and people at those various locations share responsibility for generating reports.

The tele meeting or Picture Phone Meeting Service developed by AT&T is a third method of holding a teleconference. According to Portland translation services, Aetna, EXXON, Westinghouse, Bechtel, along with other large companies use their own in-house systems. But most companies either use AT&T’s picture phone Meeting Service or an internet based solution. Conference participants gather in specially equipped conference rooms at different sites (usually a maximum of two). The room is equipped with incoming and outgoing camera monitor units.  The conferees, wearing individual microphones sit at a table facing a large wall monitor where they view the conference at the other location.

Whenever someone speaks, the camera automatically focusses on that speaker.  Other equipment in the conference: room includes: a-hard copy machine for sending or receiving documents during the conference; an easel with its own multipurpose camera for displaying and projecting text, graphics, illustrations, charts, etc.; a video cassette recorder for recording the meeting for future reference; an encryption (code-scrambling) terminal to insure the meeting’s privacy; and an audio add-on telephone that allows people to join the meeting via telephone.

CONDUCTING A MEETING

Although irritating to many who attend them, meetings are a fact of life in business, industry, and government. According to Houston translation services workers and interpreters, meetings have such a bad reputation because most are poorly planned and run. Meetings can be effective if the person in charge sets an agenda – then sticks to it by not allowing lengthy digressions or arguments.

Meetings are costly. James McIntyre, President of Washington D.C. translation services corporation, estimates that a 2-hour meeting, attended by ten managers, costs a company roughly $6,000. Obviously, meetings need to be run effectively.

Meetings are usually called for two broad purposes: l. to convey or exchange information or 2. to make decisions. Generally, informational meetings run smoothly because there’s less cause for discussion or disagreement. Decision-making meetings, on the other hand, often end without any clear resolution. Too often, such meetings end in frustration because the leader fails to take charge.

Taking charge doesn’t mean imposing one’s views on the group or disallowing opposing views. On the contrary, running a meeting effectively means guiding the discussion so it remains centered on the issue.

The following guidelines will help you run effective meetings:

Set an agenda so participants know the meeting’s purpose beforehand. Members will then have time to formulate their views on the topics. Except for emergency meetings, participants should receive the agenda at least 2 days before the meeting.

Set an agenda so participants know the meeting’s purpose beforehand. Members will then have time to formulate their views on the topics. Except for emergency meetings, participants should receive the agenda at least 2 days before the meeting.

  1. Don’t include too many items on the agenda. Leave time for discussion of each item.
  2. Begin the meeting on schedule. Stragglers soon will learn to be prompt.
  3. State the purpose of the issue to be discussed.
  4. Give all members a chance to speak. Don’t allow one or two people to monopolize the discussion.
  5. Don’t allow lengthy or irrelevant discussions. Politely bring members back to the issue.
  6. Work toward a consensus by summarizing points of agreement.
  7. Ask probing questions to keep the discussion moving.
  8. Push for a resolution of the issue.
  9. Summarize major points before calling for a vote.
  10. Observe, guide, and listen. Don’t lecture or dictate.
  11. End the meeting on schedule. This is not a hard-and-fast rule. If you feel that an issue is about to be resolved, continue but if no resolution is in sight, end the meeting

CONCLUSION: EXTEMPORANEOUS REPORTS

Here are a few final recommendations that were provided by language translation workers to help you get the most out of your presentation.

Be Concise

Say what you came to say; then summarize and close- politely and on time. As one Spanish translator in Houston explained, don’t punctuate your speech with clever digressions that pop into your head. Unless a specific anecdote was part of your original plan to clarify a point or increase interest, avoid digressions. Remember that each of us often finds what we have to say more interesting than our listeners do.

Summarize

Before ending, take a moment to summarize the major points and to reemphasize anything of special importance.

Leave Time for Questions and Answers

As you begin, inform your audience that a question-and-answer period will follow. Announce a specific time limit (such as ten minutes) to avoid public debates. Then you can end the session gracefully without making anyone feel cut off or excluded from the discussion. A French translator in Washington D.C. suggests that if you can’t answer a question, say so, and move to the next question. End the session by saying “We have time for one more question,” or some similar limiting signal.

Plan and Practice

Planning and practice make oral reports effective. As in writing, control is central. On a basic level, just filling a page with words can be called writing. Similarly, the mere utterance of intelligible sounds can be called speaking. The effective speaker, however, communicates with confidence, sophistication, and purpose. As with all skills, practice- and more practice- makes perfect. Therefore, instead of avoiding public speaking opportunities, seek them out.

PART II: EXTEMPORANEOUS REPORTS

Here are a few more ideas from translators to help you make the most of your presentation.

Use Natural Body Movements and Posture

If you move and gesture as you normally would in a conversation, your audience will be more relaxed. As numerous providers of German translation in Chicago report, nothing seems more pretentious than a speaker  who works through a series of rehearsed moves and artificial gestures. Also, maintain good posture. Don’t sway, slump, or fidget.

Speak with Confidence, Conviction, and Authority

Show your audience that you believe in what you say. Be enthusiastic and sincere. Avoid qualifiers (“I suppose,” ‘Tm not sure,” “but … ,””maybe”). Also, clean up verbal tics (“er,” “ah,” “uuh,” “mmm,” “OK,” “you know”), which do a poor job of filling in the blank spaces between statements. If you seem to be apologizing for your existence, you won’t be impressive. Speaking with authority, however, is not the same as speaking like an authoritarian.

Moderate Your Voice Volume, Tone, Pronunciation, and Speed

When using a microphone, people often speak too loudly. Without a microphone, they may speak too softly. That why one Chinese translator in Baltimore says that you you should make certain that you can be heard clearly without shattering people’s eardrums. When in doubt, ask your audience about the sound and speed of your delivery after a few sentences. Your tone should be confident, sincere, friendly, and conversational.

Because nervousness can cause too-rapid speech and unclear or slurred pronunciation, pay close attention to your pace and pronunciation. Usually, the rate you feel is a bit slow will be j~st about right for your audience.

Maintain Eye Contact

According to Denver translation workers, eye contact is vital in relating to your audience. Look directly into your listeners’ eyes to hold their interest. With a small audience, your eye contact is one of your best connectors. As you speak, establish eye contact with as many members of your audience as possible. With a large group, maintain eye contact with those in the first rows.

Read Audience Feedback

Addressing a live audience gives you the advantage of receiving immediate feedback on your delivery. Assess your audience’s responses continually and make adjustments as needed. If, for example, you are laboring through a long list of facts, figures, examples, or statistical data, and you notice that people are dozing or moving restlessly, you might summarize the point you’re making.

Likewise, if frowns, raised eyebrows, or questioning looks indicate confusion, skepticism, or indignation, you can backtrack with a specific example or explanation. By tuning in to your audience’s reactions, you can avoid leaving them confused, hostile, or simply bored.

GIVING EXTEMPORANEOUS REPORTS

At some point in your career as a translator, you will be asked to prepare a presentation.  You can take advantage of your excellent planning by utilizing the subsequent recommendations offered by fellow translators for your presentation.

Present the Subject matter Clearly, but Carefully
As one Houston translation worker explains, you should provide the listeners with a moment or two to get accustomed to you and your conversation style prior to shifting to your primary points. Normally, the audience can overlook details important for a precise comprehension of your subject matter.

After you have expressed your subject matter and discussed everything you anticipate doing (generally within a few minutes following the start of your discussion), proceed straight into the meat of your presentation. Several Washington D.C. translation workers warn that you should never switch back to what seems like beginning or foundational content. These kinds of changes distract your listeners.

Apply Straightforward Transitions
During your discussion, make use of obvious transitions to indicate a change from one concept to another. In a nutshell, make sure you employ statements as, “Now I’d like to discuss,” “Turning now to my third point.” “The second point I wish to emphasize,” “In conclusion.” or “To summarize.” Also repeat key points or terms to keep them fresh in your listeners’ minds.

After you indicate your closing with a phrase like, “In summary.” conclude quickly. Listeners will take you at your word. People count on you to finish, not drone on for 5 or 10 more minutes.

Listening Guidelines For Global Managers

The following listening guidelines were prepared by a Cincinnati translation services worker and will help you become a more effective manager:

1. Accept criticism: We sometimes implement “brilliant” policies. Others don’t see the brilliance, only the problems. Listen to employee criticism with an open mind. Employee feedback might lead to a truly “brilliant” policy.

2. Be physically attentive. Don’t say you want feedback and then give the opposite impression by opening mail, checking the latest stock market quotes, or looking over your latest computer printouts while someone is talking. Instead, take the advice of a Chinese translator in Chicago and give the person your attention by giving appropriate verbal and nonverbal feedback. This might include leaning slightly toward the person, keeping eye contact, and listening in a comfortable, stress-free place.

3. Watch nonverbal communication. Scientists studying nonverbal communication (kinesics) claim that about half a person’s communication is nonverbal. So watch for signs of stress, lack of eye contact, discomfort, tone of voice – whatever might give you clues as to what the person is really saying. Being physically attentive obviously aids in deciphering nonverbal communication.

4. Listen for what’s not said. How often have you talked with someone and “beat around the bush”? For some reason, you can’t say exactly what’s on your mind. This often happens when employees try talking with their boss. As one Cleveland translation services manager worker explains, until your employees can trust you to listen with an open mind, you have to listen for what’s not said. Or as some managers put it, “Listen between the lines.”

5. Consider the other person’s emotions and background. Some people’s behavior, background, and motivations are so different from ours that we tend to ignore their perceptions. Learn to suppress, or better yet, eliminate, such biases. Listen to their point of view. You might learn something.

6 . Don’t be manipulative. The manager who listens succeeds- unless employees or customers believe the listening is manipulative, a ploy to take advantage or manipulate them. This form of dishonesty will backfire fast.

Give positive feedback by showing that listening is a tool that helps everyone, not just managers. So give credit where it belongs. If someone comes up with an excellent idea, don’t take the credit. If someone comes with a problem, don’t just listen and then use what you’ve heard as a good topic for conversation (and laughs) at the next manager’s meeting. And don’t fake listening to placate people.

As a manager who listens, you can meet your objectives for employee motivation, morale, teamwork, and readiness to accept change by listening. Listening allows everyone into the process of creating an enjoyable, productive, and successful work environment. Just remember the words of Calvin Coolidge (30th U.S. President): “Nobody ever listened himself out of a job.”

Some historians claim “Silent Cal” listened himself right into the White House.

Today’s Top Global Business Leaders Need Strong Listening Skills

An executive spends most of his time listening, yet it’s the thing he’s least qualified to do. According to a senior level San Jose Chinese translator, executives and managers ought to spend most of their communication time listening; yet many listen poorly. Take the case of America’s auto industry. Rather than listen to what experts were saying about energy shortages, Detroit continued to build its gas guzzlers. Even after the 1973 energy crisis, auto makers failed to listen to what consumers wanted: more economical cars. And when the government tried forcing the industry to listen, the industry lobbied intensively against the need for mileage ratings.  The Americans never did listen; they woke up, finally, to find that Japanese auto makers had cornered 20 percent of the market.

Knowledge gained from listening often can be turned to profit. As one translator with a Philadelphia translation services company suggested, “A client may have an idea for improving a product or service; a manager may suggest ways of increasing employee morale; an employee might suggest ways to increase production. But unless someone is willing to listen, the ideas are lost and so are the benefits.”

A global organization’s success largely depends on its managers. And global managers spend most of their time communicating with employees, usually one-to-one or through the use of an Indianapolis translation company. A look at current managerial objectives illustrates the need for managers who listen well.

Effective managers should

l. raise the level of employee morale

2. increase the readiness of employees to accept change

3. develop teamwork

4 . further the individual development of employees

These objectives coincide with Douglas McGregor’s Theory Y, the management theory centering on supportive, participative management (in contrast to Theory X: authoritative command). According to McGregor’s hypothesis, workers want their company to succeed. They want to work and take pride in their accomplishments. But for Theory Y to work, managers must talk less and listen more.

MORE WAYS TO IMPROVE LISTENING

5. Don’t play judge. Not suppressing our dislike for the speaker or the speaker’s delivery is closely akin to not suppressing our biases. We judge the speaker by how she or he looks talks, and delivers, rather than judging the message itself. As skillful Denver Translation services workers we try to concentrate on the message, not on the speaker’s dress, dialect, sex, or mannerisms.

6. Listen to all messages, not just the interesting or easy ones. As international business workers and Seattle translation services all heard messages that were difficult to understand. If we’re poor listeners, our inclination is to stop listening. Instead, rely on the skills required for critical and discriminative listening. If necessary, force yourself to listen by any means possible, using the same techniques you would to avoid distractions.

7. Don’t distort the message. At times, distortion results from our not accepting the speaker’s message. We censor, select, or tailor it to our needs and beliefs. We don’t have to agree with the message, but we should listen. Another form of distortion occurs when we believe we already know what’s going to be said. This often occurs when we’ve heard a speaker talk on a topic before. We assume the same points will be repeated, so we only half listen – and miss anything new. This happens to reporters during political campaigns. They’ve heard the same speech so often that they expect to hear the same speech again. That’s when they begin missing new policy statements. They hear only what they expect to hear.

8. Take selective notes. We can get so involved in trying to take down everything said that we miss most of the message. We write a sentence or two and miss a point or two. Listen instead. Get main points. Jot them down. One San Francisco translation worker suggests that listeners shouldn’t concentrate solely on facts – and miss the key point. Most of us love facts: dates, places, names. They make us feel we’re learning something. And they’re so much easier to recall. We end up filtering out main points, listening only for facts. So, when taking notes, focus on ideas.

WAYS TO IMPROVE LISTENING

Use the following guidelines to improve your listening skills:
1. Avoid distractions: focus and concentrate. In international business, there are  many potential external or internal distractions that can divert us from the speaker’s message. Whether you work as an international negotiator or a Spanish translator in Houston, we must work hard at becoming active listeners. Seldom is a message so boring that we can’t find reasons to listen. Listening is an excellent way to learn.

Ask yourself, “How can I benefit from this information?” If you can’t do that, rationalize. ”I’ll listen to improve my listening skills.” ”I’ll watch and listen to see how the speaker reacts to my feedback.” As the Washington D.C. translation worker, Harold Greenberry suggested, “There is no such thing as an uninteresting subject: there are only uninterested people.”

2. Make use of lag time. A major cause of distraction is lag time: the difference between how fast a speaker talks and how fast we can listen. The rate of most speech is between 125 and 180 words a minute. But we can listen at least four times faster. Because our minds have so much free time, our thoughts begin to wander. We begin to miss the speaker’s points.

Use lag time constructively. Trace the line of argument, find the thesis, follow sequences, look for logical relationships, summarize key points, anticipate questions, develop answers, evaluate ideas, watch nonverbal gestures, give feedback. In short, use the skills required for critical and discriminative listening.

3. Allow the speaker time to make the point. As a Dallas translation services company, we sometimes see presenters do too much anticipating. We think we know what the speaker’s going to say, so we quickly formulate rebuttals, counterpoints, or witty rejoinders. Meanwhile, while we’ve been figuring how to “put the speaker in his place,” he’s developed the point differently – and we’ve missed it.

4. Suppress your biases. We all have biases, opinions, and prejudices. While listening, we often allow certain words, ideas, or statements to trigger emotional responses. Try to suppress those biases. Give the speaker a chance to make the point. We may not like what is being said, but we should listen. We may learn something, after all, that may lessen a prejudice or reinforce a conviction.