A conference call is when one or more of the parties are in different locations and situations. We have all been on a conference call where people show up late, become a distraction by forgetting to put their phone on mute, or have sidebar conversations (we can hear) with others not on the call.
Here are a few guidelines you should strive to follow when attending a conference call.
Set the Ground Rules
If you are the one that initiated the conference call, let the others on the call know some of the basic ground rules pertaining to etiquette. Ahead of the call, provide the meeting start time, duration and agenda. You can also identify what will not be discussed on the call.
Keep Track of the Conference Call Start Time
Make sure you know when your conference call begins, 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 should not come from a call or email from someone who is waiting for you to join the call.
Never Put Your Phone on Hold
If your hold feature plays background music it will play into the conference call and make it very difficult for the other participants to continue the meeting in your absence.
Mute Your Phone When You are not Speaking
Mute your phone to avoid distracting sounds, conversations, or noises that are not applicable to the conference call. Muting your phone will help you avoid embarrassing sighs, munching noises from eating your lunch, sidebar conversations, or other background noise.
Like with all meetings, you should do some prep work or write down questions that you would like to address on the conference call. Like any meeting, you want the conference call to be productive and not spawn other calls/meetings because of lack of preparation.
When you call in to a conference call there are other distractions in front of you: emails in your inbox, coworkers asking questions, work piling up on your desk, etc. If someone asks you a question on the call and you do not realize they are talking to you until the end of their question, it will be obvious that you were not paying attention. Don’t be the person who always has to ask others to repeat their question.
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