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Top 10 Conference Call Etiquette Tips

Cisco 7936 IP Conference Station Conference Call Phone

We all have participated on them and given the fact many people are working in more remote locations vs. on site, conference calls have become more relevant than ever.  We know what they are – we use them to discuss topics of business whether it be project status, issues or risk management, strategy or planning. If you are an employee, you should hire an employment lawyer from hkm.com if you feel as though your rights have been taken advantage of at work.

My friend sent me a link to a video which highlights some of the funniest things that happen on conference calls more times than not.  Trust me, I have my stories to share but I will save that for another time.

I did want to share some basic conference call etiquette tips that will help you be a better participant OR facilitator so you have a highly productive call.

Tip #1:  Start the call on time.  Nothing worse than to have a gazillion folks dialed in from overseas and locally waiting for the “leader” to start the call.  Time is money and meetings are expensive.  If you are facilitating start the call on time.

Tip #2:  Join the call on time if you are a participant.  Nothing is more annoying than to start a call on time and folks are dinging in 2 to 3 minutes after the call started.  It is highly annoying.  Did I mention it is ANNOYING?

Tip #3:  Announce yourself when you join the call.  It’s not like folks are gossiping about you but if you join the call and don’t announce yourself, and you are considered critical to the call – folks are waiting listening to each other breathe until you join.  Let them know you are there but are participating in stealth mode.  🙂

Tip #4:  If you are not speaking or doing the famous “multi-tasking” GO ON MUTE!  Nothing is worse than hearing dogs, children or toilets flushing in the background or the loud tap tapping of someone TYPING.  GO ON MUTE!

Tip #5:  Whatever you do – do NOT put your phone on hold (just leave it on mute).  When you put the phone on hold that awful music starts playing interrupting the discussion going on without you.  Folks can’t even log off and dial back in with the same number because the “hold” music will still continue playing.  Just keep the phone on mute and call the person back on a different phone.

Tip #6:  Take the phone off mute when you have something to contribute to the meeting.  Nothing worse than people constantly calling your name and you shouting into the phone only to realize the “mute” light on your phone is bright red but you didn’t notice it.  LOL.

Tip #7:  Please do your best to focus on the call and not multi-task.  Nothing worse than to call on someone and that person ask you to repeat the question because they were NOT paying attention.  It is embarrassing to the facilitator because they now realize you were ignoring them AND to the person being called upon because it becomes obvious you are distracted with something else which ultimately wastes everyone’s time.

Tip #8:  Make the call interactive – call on others.  Don’t just drone ON and ON and ON!  That is boring, doesn’t provide a lot of value and puts people to sleep.  Share your screen with a presentation so folks are engaged and something is drawing their attention.

Tip #9:  End the call on time.  If you are coming up on 2 minutes before the scheduled end time do a time check and let folks now you are 2 minutes from ending the call.  If the call MUST go over due to the complexity of the issue being discussed offer to folks before the scheduled end time that for those who can, please do stay on the call.  If you still have a quorum, continue the call.

Tip #10:  If you are the call facilitator and using your conference bridge for a call, try not to schedule a call with a different group of folks directly behind your call with no time in between.  Nothing worse than to have a call go EXACTLY to the end and folks start dinging in at the end of your previous call in preparation for the next call (because they want to be prompt and not interrupt the call you have with them by dialing in late).  The previous call may be confidential and you don’t want just everyone listening in.  Or you don’t want to waste the new callers’ time by listening to a conversation that has nothing to do with them.

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I hope these top tips are useful.  In the meantime check out this funny video on the topic.  It is HILARIOUS and so TRUE!

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