Conference Call Etiquette: 7 Dos and Don’ts
Now that many businesses are working from home, we have utilized software such as Zoom, Microsoft teams, Skype, etc. to host many online meetings. It can be challenging to get used to if you have not done it before.
Below are Seven Do’s and Don’ts for Conference Call Etiquette
Be on time
This is an obvious one and the easiest. Be on time. Nothing is more frustrating for people if they have to wait on someone to start their meeting or if the host is late. Then they have to listen to the wait music for 5+ mins. However, it is only okay if you are late, IF you notified the host of a conflict you have and let them know ahead of time you were going to be late or send them an email prior to the meeting to them know what conflict arose to make you not able to be there at all or on time.
Fix technical issues beforehand (test equipment)
Calls dropping or static noise can be quite frustrating to a group when you are having a conversation. I have been on a call and someone is speaking and then goes silent mid-sentence, then comes back at the end. You ask them to repeat and then the meeting is going over because of this. It takes away from time spent elsewhere and eliminates the productivity of the call. It will be important for you to fix any issues beforehand and even do a test with a co-worker to make sure everything is working fine.
Don’t eat or drink anything
It sounds funny that we are even talking about this but eating or drinking on a conference call is a big NO. I have been on calls when people are smacking their food or you can hear chip bags in the background. This can be quite distracting for people and you don’t want to be the person getting called out. As far as drinking, it is okay but there is a mute button, Use it so people don’t hear you. Just be mindful of when you are doing any of this.
Use the mute button (when not speaking)
The mute button is everyone’s best friend on a conference call. A lot of times if people are not on mute, you can hear an echo which can be irritating for some and very distracting. It will be important to use the mute button when not speaking.
If the host…have agenda
If you are the host, a great way to be productive and use the conference time to your advantage is by sending out an agenda. This allows people to prepare and know what to expect from the call and what you expect from them. Sometimes calls can get sidetracked and you end up spending 2+ hours on a call when it should have taken you 30 minutes to 1 hour. This ensures you are getting everything you needed completed and keeps the members on the call interactive and ready to solve any issues, concerns or ideas.
Choose a quiet location
During a conference call you want to choose a quiet location. You don’t want to be the person that has the loud noise in the background. You also don’t want to get distracted during the call and when you are called on, you ask them to repeat the question.
Speak up, silence isn’t always the right choice
Sometimes people think that silence on a call and just listening is fine. But you don’t want to be that person, you want to speak up when you have an idea or opinion about a process. Have a voice in the call. Collaborate with your teams on the call and make suggestions. If you are silent the whole call, then it will be a waste of your time. You want to make the most of it and share your thoughts and ideas. You were asked to be on the call for a reason.
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