Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) News 

May 30, 2016

Conference Call Etiquette Applies to Everyone (including you)

Posted by Tom Strong

There are few people who like conference calls. Our post Take Control of Conference Calls goes over the guidelines that moderators can follow to facilitate productive call-in meetings. This post will look at the guidelines and appropriate etiquette for participants. It’s as much the participant’s responsibility to ensure a good meeting as the moderator.

1. Be on time

“On time” means on the phone and ready to proceed at the stated time. A conference call is a meeting and it’s the responsibility of everyone to be a few minutes early to any meeting. Being late to a meeting doesn’t imply busyness and importance as some people believe, it just conveys a lack of planning and rudeness.

2. Mute your phone

The unwillingness of people to do this is baffling to their colleagues. If you’re not talking, mute your phone and when you are talking make sure to be in a place with limited background noise. The others on the call don’t want to hear you eating chips, coworkers on keyboards or the daily specials at the coffee shop where you’re calling from.

Also, use the mute button not the hold one. Hold can produce static or music, even with ip phone systems, which disrupts the meeting. In some cases the leader may need to clear the line to stop it and start the meeting all over again.

3. State your name

Don’t assume everyone knows who you are. Initially, introduce yourself, and if appropriate, your location, department and title. But, this isn’t the time to give a verbal resume or an elevator pitch.

Depending on the size of the group and how well you know each other keep saying your name as you contribute to the conversation. In addition, if there’s someone with the same name use a secondary modifier to limit the confusion over who’s talking.

4. Know and follow the agenda

One of the perpetual mysteries in business is how ill prepared some people are for meetings. To be prepared – know and understand the agenda, compile pertinent questions and have your contribution organized. Think of it this way, if you and others are not prepared it’ll only result in more meetings.

Follow the agenda and stay on topic. If possible take the conversation offline when ancillary issues emerge or schedule them to be discussed at a later date. A conference call is not the place to have a sidebar. Stick to the time line and be aware of over sharing, being too detailed, derailing the topic or monopolizing the conversation. Just because you can’t see the eye rolling doesn’t mean it’s not there.

5. Pay attention

When you’re on a conference call there can be many distractions in the place you’re calling from – limit them and focus on the meeting. It’s obvious if you’re not paying attention and often insulting to those on the call. You didn’t set out that morning to offend your boss or client did you?

6. Use a good phone

Good equipment is vital to professionalism. Bad ip phone systems can cause static, break up or drop the call. You want your contributions to be clear and understood.

On a conference call it’s everyone’s responsibility to handle the meeting with professionalism and expediency. The more efficient and on task a meeting is the less need there is for future meetings. And when there are fewer meetings everyone wins.


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