If you’re on a lot of conference calls or the same call on a regular basis you probably know proper etiquette but for those new to the joy in life called conference calls I want to share some common rules to follow. Most of this is common sense but for people on their first few calls they may not think of it.
- Always identify yourself when you get on the call and typically when you’re speaking if the call has more than a few attendees.
- Limit or eliminate background noise before you call in. Put your animals in another room or outside and close your office door if you have kids. Mine are wonderful but at 2 they don’t understand being quiet while I’m on the phone. Also close a window if there’s any chance a gardner will come by because they always magically appear during conference calls.
- Send the dial-in or bridge number, pass code, and instructions multiple times leading up to the start of your call. I know I end up usually referencing those emails just before I’m supposed to call in.
- I don’t totally agree with this suggestion but I’ve heard it many times. Most people say to skip using a speakerphone if you’re not with a group. I have a Phone.com HD Voice IP phone so even on speaker phone I know my calls sound good. In general though cell phone speaker phones should be a no no if at all possible.
- Dialing in from a desktop phone used to be a must but it isn’t really anymore if your cell phone has good reception, as long as the call can stay active if your call drops.
- Stay away from the hold button if you have to do something else. If you have hold music it may override your phone’s mute and play the hold music for all the participants. I know how nice some of Phone.com’s hold music is but it may not be appropriate to have Snoop Dogg playing during your call.
- Lastly and most importantly, make the mute button your best friend. My rule of thumb is I mute myself any time I’m not talking. No one wants to hear your coworker or kid start to cry if someone eats their lunch. Not everyone has a door to their work space or a perfectly silent office. Mute! Mute! Mute!
Some of us are on conference calls all day long and others are more lucky but anytime you’re on a group call these are good starting points. Do you have any conference call horror stories? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter.