By Cherry Brown – Human Resources Manager
To ensure that all conference call participants have a good experience (and aren’t left with a negative opinion of you or your company), below are some simple “Rules of the Road” to adhere to:
1. Call timing – Try to avoid being late, especially if you know you will have to contribute to the discussion. Make sure you know when your conference call is and be sure to keep the conference call number and pin handy so you are not scrambling to find it at the last minute. Your meeting reminder shouldn’t come from a call or email from someone who is on the meeting when you are not.
2. Keep background noise to a minimum – Use the “mute” button on your phone to keep out background noises – chewing, coughing, sneezing, etc. When you take your phone off mute to speak or to get ready to chime in, make sure that you are not distracting the other callers. Background noise may be generated from standing outside in the wind, typing on your computer, children running around, pets barking, and side conversations with people in the office, just to name a few. It is best to find a quiet location for the meeting.
3. No Holds Barred – Do not use the “hold” button for any reason. It might make a buzzing in the line that can be heard by other callers. If you have “music on hold”, the music will be heard by the other participants and interrupt the call.
4. Be prepared to discuss the topic at hand – As with all meetings, you should do a little prep work or jot down topics or questions that you would like to bring up on the conference call. After all, you want the meeting to be productive and not spawn other meetings because of lack of preparation.
5. Focus on the call – When you call in to a conference call, there are a million distractions in front of you – e-mails in your inbox, coworkers asking questions, work piling up on your desk, etc. Be courteous to your conference call leader and your fellow participants by giving your full attention to the call and avoiding the distractions until the call is over.
Have you had a negative experience during a conference call because of one of these or other issues? Do you have other suggestions of Conference Call Etiquette? Share them with us in the comments section below!