As remote work gains traction in the workplace, reliance on conference calling technology is steadily rising as a way to connect with colleagues from afar. However, just because conference calls are virtual, doesn’t mean that all meeting etiquette is off the table! There are ways to ensure that you are being courteous and optimizing everyone’s time effectively. This hilarious “Conference Call in Real Life” video highlights the frustrations that can be felt when conference calls are interrupted by late arrival beeps, background noise, and people dropping in and out of the call.
Ideally, it is the role of the meeting organizer to kick off the meeting, share the agenda, keep the conversation on task and end the call on-time. But participants have some rules of common courtesy to follow as well! If everyone followed these rules, conference calls would be a lot more smooth and efficient.
1. Reduce background noise
When possible, set yourself up for the call in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Shut the door of the room you’re in, if you can. Turn off any televisions, radios, or other sources of sound. Nobody wants to hear you talking over a barking dog, crying baby, lawnmower engine, or the QVC channel.
2. Reduce distractions
In addition to keeping your conference call location quiet, also try to reduce other distractions. Avoid driving while on a call if you can (and if you have to call from the road, always always always use Bluetooth! Be safe!). Don’t give in to the temptation to “multi-task” by snacking, surfing the Internet or answering emails – give your full attention to the conversation!
3. Call in early
The scheduled conference call start time should be the start of the discussion, not the time to start dialing in. Don’t wait until the last minute to find the dial-in number in your calendar or email, dial into the bridge, and then type your access code… by then you will be several minutes late! Always strive to be ready and waiting for a conference call a minute or two before the scheduled start time so that the conversation can being promptly.
4. Mute your phone when not speaking
To eliminate the possibility of background noise or feedback, mute your phone when you’re not speaking or expecting to speak. This also removes any coughing, sneezing, typing, or shuffling paper sounds from being broadcast to the group.
5. Announce yourself when speaking
When you chime in to a large group discussion for the first time, you should announce your name at the start, along the lines of “Jane chiming in here….” so that people know who is speaking and can attribute what you say later in the conversation.
6. Speak clearly
Enunciate! Even with the clearest call connection, mumbling or speaking softly doesn’t do anyone any favors on a speakerphone.
7. Be mindful of tone
Without the benefit of face-to-face interaction, gestures, and expression, your tone can potentially come across the wrong way over the phone, especially if you attempt sarcasm or other more subtle forms of speech. Just be conscious of what you’re trying to convey and use the appropriate tone at all times to avoid miscommunication.
8. Be mindful of time
Try to be to-the-point with your words. It’s all to easy for listeners to become distracted or space out in an audio-only meeting, so don’t drone on! Make your points efficiently and do your part to keep the conversation on track.
Do your part as a participant by following these etiquette rules, and you will contribute to a more efficient, effective conference call for all involved.
Need help finding a conference calling system that works for your business? Allied can help!