Everyone has their own style on a conference call – it’s your communications style. But there are certain things that you should and shouldn’t do while on a conference call.
We put together this list for you to keep handy. These are the moist common do’s and dont’s of the conference call world. Did we miss any?
1. Do announce yourself when speaking
During a question and answer session or discussion time, say your name before you start speaking. It allows presenters to refer to you in a more personable way and they’ll be able to reference you or your question later on, if needed.
2. Do check the placement of your headset
One of the most common pet peeves in meetings is hearing the ‘heavy breather’ for the duration of the call. Make sure your headset microphone is at an appropriate distance from your mouth or nose.
3. Do send a meeting request rather than an email
In that first meeting request, do your best to include all information including a dial-in phone number, conference code and a link to the web meeting. It can be annoying to get five updates with time changes, added web conferencing information or new numbers, not to mention that it gets confusing and potentially makes it difficult for people to join your meeting.
4. Do pay attention
When you’re not in a face-to-face meeting, it’s very easy to get distracted. Limit your multi-tasking while on conference calls. One of the most embarrassing situations that can happen is to be called on and either not respond or not have a clue what is being asked of you.
Act as if your conference call is a face-to-face meeting (hopefully you wouldn’t be checking your email or sending an IM if people were sitting across the table from you) and you won’t get caught in this sticky situation!
5. Do learn the mute function
This was by far the most popular response from my team! We all know that there are a variety of things that can happen in the “background” of a conference call: dogs barking, keyboards being typed on, sneezing, children running around, loud speaker announcements at the airport, etc. So, it’s important to learn how to mute your phone.
On the flip side of that, make sure you know how to un-mute it, too. If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “Sorry, I was talking but my line was muted…” I’d be rich!
1. Don’t join a large group of people from a sub-par speaker phone
It is very hard to be on one end of a conference call and to try to hear a group of people in a large room gathered around a conference phone. If you need to do this, make sure you test the phone and assign one person to repeat any questions or comments.
2. Don’t let someone dominate the call
Make sure that you are being respectful of others’ time. Don’t let one person go on a tangent and rule the call. At a pause in the speaking, ask that person if he will continue the conversation off-line after the conference call.
3. Don’t talk over people
We realize that it can be difficult to get used to being on a conference call and not physically seeing when someone is about to talk. However, for that reason, you need to allow for the appropriate amount of silence before talking. If you’re asking for questions, allow your audience time to think.
If you’ve talked over someone, allow that person to repeat what they’ve said. If you have a large group of people attending a call, I’d suggest using Operator Assisted or Direct Event conference calls so that an operator can facilitate the question and answer portion of the meeting.
4. Don’t stray from the agenda
This one is easier said than done! A good tip is to make sure that you have an agenda for every meeting. That way, if you get off task, you can always refer back to the agenda to get everyone focused. To start off on the right foot, either send out the agenda prior to the meeting or show it during your web meeting.
5. Don’t be late
While the InterCall Lounge is fun to listen to while waiting for the call to start, it’s not professional to leave your audience waiting for more than a few minutes. Make it a practice to arrive at least three minutes before call start time. If you’re invited to a meeting, make sure to be on time. It’s disrespectful to leave a group of people waiting.
By learning from your conferencing service and paying attention to these few tips, you’ll be conference call pro in no time! Is there a conference call don’t that really gets you going? Tell me about it below.