Conference call etiquette

Teleconferencing is becoming the preferred way of most businesses to keep in touch with customers, colleagues and business partners across the world. There are many reputed conference call service providers offering a wide variety of teleconferencing services. Depending on the nature and size of the business and the volume of calls expected per month, you may choose from the many conferencing solutions on offer. Conferencing service providers host something known as a conference bridge which has the ability to connect multiple telephone line simultaneously. It is essentially the conference bridge that you are connecting to when you participate in telephone conferencing.

Phone conferencing is no different from a normal business meeting. A teleconference should be conducted in exactly the same professional manner as a face-to-face meeting. Call conferencing can be highly successful if all participants follow certain basic etiquette and are enthusiastic about making the most of it.

Respect the etiquette of a voice conference, though you cannot see the participants you should deal with them just as you would if you were sitting face-to-face across them. Just because others cannot see you, your attention should not be diverted to matters other than those being discussed during the conference call. If your attention wanders, it will reflect on your voice and others will know. This creates a wrong impression and is disrespectful to others who take the meeting seriously.

The ground rules for a good call are as below:

  • Attend the call on time. Be punctual. Don’t make others wait.
  • Study the agenda of the meeting beforehand. Attend the call fully prepared with all relevant documents and pertinent information at your fingertips. It is bad form to rummage through your briefcase or computer when the call is in progress.
  • Do not sideline others in the call. Listen to the points of view of others and don’t try to hijack the discussion.
  • It is equally important to be an active participant. Do not hide behind the phone; make sure that you express your opinion.
  • Join the conference from a room where there are no loud background noises or interruptions. Switch off your mobile phones.
  • If you are in charge of hosting the call, join the call early and greet each participant as they join.
  • You might be in a different time zone and there may be other pressing matters at hand such as having a snack to stave off your hunger pangs. However, resist the temptation to dig into a bag of pretzels while the call is in progress.
  • Wrap up the call, summarise the point and decide on the date for the next meeting. After the call, distribute action points to the participants.
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