Conference Call Etiquette

Posted: May 2, 2014

If you’ve ever been on a conference call, you know how frustrating it can be when not everyone is prepared! In order to have a constructive call, it’s important to listen to others, be free of distractions, and above all, be patient. Here are some helpful conference call etiquette tips to help you mind your Ps and Qs and make your next meeting a success!

Before the Call

Do you find yourself looking desperately for a pen and paper to jot down important information before you forget what was said? Preparation is key during conference calls. Be sure to have all the supplies you’ll need for the call ahead of time to prevent frantic searching later. Writing utensils, a notepad, and a list of the topics at hand will help ease the process. If you’re leading the meeting, write an outline of the points you’d like to bring up and have it ready beforehand.

If you’ll be using a computer, open any necessary applications and a word document to take notes before you begin.

Starting the Call

As with any business meeting, it’s important to be on time. Set aside an appropriate amount of time for the conference, and make sure you don’t have any conflicting appointments. Allow for an extra 10 – 15 minutes at the beginning of the meeting in case there are technical issues or latecomers.

Find a quiet environment — no coffee houses or cars! Background noises can be distracting, so try to avoid any loud surroundings.

During the Call

The meeting has started and everyone is present. How do you ensure a positive experience for yourself and others?

First and foremost, be courteous. This includes listening attentively, not speaking over others, and eliminating any outside distractions. Don’t work on other projects during the call. Multi-tasking makes it difficult to focus on the subject at hand and can lead to miscommunication and repetition.

Speak up! We sometimes take face-to-face conversations for granted — it’s much easier to understand someone in person than on the phone. Speak at a strong (but not deafening) volume and enunciate.

Listen. It can be easy to get side-tracked or think about what you’re going to say next instead of listening to the speaker, but paying attention is crucial. It’s the whole reason for the conference call! If you don’t listen intently, you could miss important information or cause frustration by asking people to repeat themselves. The golden rule, “Treat others as you wish to be treated,” comes into play here. You want others to hear your thoughts, so listen to theirs.

Take notes. Remember that pen and paper? Jot down new or relevant information, names and numbers you’ll need to reference later, and action items (issues you and/or your team plan to follow up on).

Unmute. You may need to mute your phone in certain situations. If you do, don’t forget to unmute when you speak. No one will know about your great ideas if they can’t hear you!

Ending the Call

Ask questions if anything was unclear and let others know if you think a topic needs to be revisited in the future. If you’re leading the call, make sure everyone has a good understanding of what was discussed and the actions that need to be taken.

Last, but not least, thank everyone who participated in the meeting for their time and attention!

Tell us: Do you have any tips for a successful conference call? What are some good experiences you’ve had? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet us!

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