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Biggest Conference Call Etiquette Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

By Edited Jun 10, 2016 1 2

Technology has grown significantly and, over time, it has had a huge impact on business communications. Thanks to all the options available, businesses today have many choices when it comes to forms of communication.

Mobile, email and other forms of text-based messaging are generally the most popular, but many businesses still prefer to add a personal touch to sharing information through the use of conference telephone calls. Especially, when so many work environments are spread out in various regions and colleagues do not necessarily work side-by-side. In many cases, employees are spread across the globe.

Conference calls are perceived as a good way for a group of people to connect on a more personal level, much more so than an exchange of emails offers.

If you receive an invitation to attend a business conference call, it's important to realize even though you may be located in a distant office or even calling in from home, proper etiquette should be observed at all times.

conference room
Credit: kzd via Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/meeting-room-board-room-10270/

Years ago all meetings took place in a conference or other type of meeting room. Today, that has all changed thanks to the progression of technology. People don't even have to be present on the same continent to share in on the same meeting.

It's important to treat this meeting in the same respectful fashion you would treat an in-person conference. If this is your first time attending a telephone conference call before dialing in, it's a good idea to brush up on some etiquette with the "do's and don'ts" of what's expected before the scheduled conference date.

According to a survey conducted by Intercall in 2015, many people admitted to focusing on other work-related items while on a call and a percentage of people do unrelated work things – some of which others would definitely not want to know. 1 Here are a few things participants can easily avoid doing when it comes to conference calls.

Not Arriving on Time

A telephone conference, while less formal in comparison to a meeting in a board room, is still a scheduled assembly. Arriving on time ensures less distraction for the speaker, the group and you won't miss any important information that may be offered. If you arrive late, you may miss pertinent details.

Business meeting
Credit: Geralt via Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/businessmen-silhouettes-meeting-1039905/

Treat a conference call time the same as any other appointment or meeting time.

Not Identifying Yourself When Speaking

If an opportunity for input is offered, state your name before sharing your comments. It provides better clarification for the person taking notes and recording the comments. Additionally, everyone else in attendance will know who is talking – it helps people to have the ability to follow the flow of conversation. If the "floor" opens up for comments, a flood of people speaking in turn can get confusing, but identifying yourself first makes it clear for all. Remember to follow any queue or other protocol set up for speaking.

Hey, What's that Noise?

It is really important to remember to eliminate any background noise before logging into the call.  While you may personally be able to successfully tune out background noise where you are and be able to listen, keep in mind others on the call will also hear any noise. Anyone or thing in the background in your vicinity will be attending the meeting along with you. Even though noise may not be bothering you, it is going to be distracting to other participants, not to mention background sound tends to carry.

A good rule of thumb when attending a conference meeting is to remove yourself and go to a quieter location or covertly keep that "mute" button pressed during the times you are not required to speak.

Man on mobile phone
Credit: Buecherwurm_65 via Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/phone-mobile-phone-mobile-1261956/

Making Too Much Movement

Avoid multi-tasking during your conference if it interferes with an ability to focus on the discussion. It may be tempting to start doing other work during the call because participants can't see one another, but engaging in other activities can be poor form. Shun away from typing on your keyboard or shuffling through paperwork during the call since these activities will be heard and tends to distract others. Even if the activity seems subtle, you'd be surprised at how much of it is heard by others.

Woman typing
Credit: picjumbo via Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/woman-typing-writing-macbook-865111/

Typing during a conference call can also carry. You might be surprised how loud that "clacking" sound can actually be.

Eating and Chewing

Eating or chewing gum during the conference is another "noise" which often is picked up and heard; when it happens it is considered to be impolite and not very professional. If you were sitting in front of your boss or colleagues, you wouldn't bring food to the meeting, so remember to observe this general rule during a telephone conference as well. If you really need to eat something, put the mute button on.

Watch that 'Hold' button

If your telephone automatically inserts music when a caller is placed on hold, you definitely do not want to trigger this feature during a meeting. If you must be temporarily distracted from the conference, a better idea is to use the mute button instead – that button can be pretty handy during a conference call for a number of reasons.

Using Speaker Phones

Speaker phones have a terrible tendency to pick up every possible noise in the vicinity and it makes it difficult for others on the call to hear what's being said. It is not a good idea to use this feature once you arrive to the conference call meeting; this feature should be reserved only in instances where multiple people are in the same room and all must take part in the call using the same phone.

When attending a conference call, it is a good idea to view and treat this meeting with the same etiquette you would as if you were attending in person. Even though you can't be seen, most everything around you can be heard. If everyone in attendance observes courtesy and gives the presenter full attention, the meeting is more enjoyable for all and it will flow more smoothly.

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Comments

May 14, 2016 8:31pm
vicdillinger
I always loathed teleconferencing for EVERY reason you noted, all things that other participants did. Hated them--great article!! Thumbin'!
May 19, 2016 5:07am
LeighGoessl
Thanks so much Vic, appreciate your comment and thumb.
While I've been on calls that didn't have these types of issues, boy there have been some doozies...
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Bibliography

  1. "Top 10 Things People Do While on a Conference Call." West Unified Communications Services. 05/11/2015. 4/04/2016 <Web >

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