How to master conference call etiquette
Conference calling continues to be a great alternative to an in-person meeting. With the evolving workplace, back-to-back meetings and endless tasks on the to do list, it’s often difficult to get everyone in one room for a meeting.
Rescheduling and organising diaries can be a big pain when there’s different teams, directors and/or agencies involved so conference calls help employees stay agile to last minute changes and commitments .But as there are certain tendencies and etiquette that we try to stick to in the office and in meetings, it doesn’t mean that for a conference call these all get thrown out the window. Like any meeting, there’s some ground rules and etiquette that you try to stick to, to help you run a polite, effective and pleasant call.
Conference call etiquette is often assumed but not often spoken about, so before you get on the nerves of your participants, make sure you take a look at some our conferencing ground rules because for all you know, you could’ve already been bugging them the whole time!
So here are our some ground rules for conference call etiquette:
- Be on time – you wouldn’t show up late for a face-to-face meeting as it looks unprofessional. To give your colleagues the courtesy of being on time and ready for the call.
- Always come prepared – it’s always important that you know how the service works and how to dial in. This means keeping the dial-in number and PIN on hand, so you’re not stuck scrambling at the time when the meeting is meant to start. If you haven’t dialled in before, it’s best you try to dial in early so you give yourself enough time to troubleshoot in case you run into any complications. Forgot your PIN? Send it to yourself here.
- Know the agenda – to make sure your call runs smoothly – regardless of whether you’re the host or participant – it’s important to know the purpose of the call. What’s on a conference call agenda? Why not check out our easy agenda guide. Make sure you’re clear on what you want the outcome to be and what needs to be discussed or agreed upon to avoid asking questions at the start of the call like “So what are we discussing?”
- Don’t forget introductions – similar to how you would in a face-to-face meeting, it’s common etiquette to introduce yourself as well as your colleagues that are on the call. Sometimes teams dial in on one line so other participants might not be aware of who else is on that one line. This way, quickly introducing yourself and asking how each other are, will set the tone of the call and make participants more open to ideas and opinions.
- Don’t be afraid of the mute button – background noise on a conference call has been known to drown out the sound of the person speaking on a call. So particularly if you know you have a lot going on around you, or if there’s a lot of people dialled into the call, it’s best you put yourself on mute and un-mute yourself when you speak, so it doesn’t interrupt the person speaking on the call. On our service, you can click #6 to mute and un-mute yourself.
- Avoid the hold button – when should you use the hold button? Well, if you need to step away from the call for a minute and intend to come back, it’s best you use mute instead putting the line on hold or leaving the call and dialling back in. Most phones have music that automatically plays while the phone is on hold, so before you leave your call with the overpowering sound of your hold music, exercise the mute button instead.
- Know when to, and not to speak – talking over people is rude in any situation, and when you’re on a call, you can’t see the body language of when someone’s about to speak. No one likes being spoken over and conference calls don’t have a limit on the amount of time you’re on the call, so make sure you take note of your cues to speak and don’t speak over (or louder) than the participants.
- Know what not to say – make sure you’re aware that other people are on the call and everyone’s time is valuable. Don’t say anything that may hold up the meeting or hinder productivity. Basically, behave the same way you would face-to-face and avoid blurting out anything that could be considered rude.
- Be conscious of the environment around you – fighting to hear over someone else’s background music is one thing, but trying to speak or listen with your own background noise is a whole another issue. If you’re in a loud environment, it’s best to step out of it and find a quieter place to join the call, because the likeliness is, by the time you need to speak, neither you or your participants will hear your thoughts over all that noise. Have a read of our best locations for a call.
Want to find out more? Take a look at our Top 10 Tips for Conference Calling.
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