The Teleconference Clock

Brief Description

“The clock” can be used on conference calls to help people get and keep a sense of place and participation in a disembodied telephone conference call. It can be used with structured online chats as well.

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I learned this technique from Lisa Kimball of GroupJazz around 1997. I do not know it's origins beyond that. (Nancy White)

When to use

When you have more than 4-5 people on a telephone or Skype call.

How to use

Ask every one to draw a circle on a piece of paper and mark the hours like a clock. Then, each person is assigned a spot on the “clock” as they join the group. So the first person is 1 o’clock, the second 2, etc. If there are more than twelve, start adding 1:30, 2:30 etc. Use this initially to create a speaking sequence for intros, and then use it to ensure everyone speaks. Participants can make notations by names and use it as a visual tool to match names/voices/input. If you are doing multiple rounds of “speaking” vary the “starting position” on the clock. Listen to a brief podcast about the Clock.

Tips and Lessons Learnt

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Examples & Stories

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Who can tell me more?

  • Sophie Treinen (sophie.treinen [at]
  • Gauri Salokhe (gauri.salokhe [at]

Related Methods / Tools / Practices



meetings, collaboration, communication

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