When you have a conference call rather it is from business to business, or business to an employee at home or abroad conducting business, it is important that the conference calling experience is productive and smooth sailing. No matter what role you play in the conference call, it is necessary that you maintain the proper etiquette for conference calls.
Before we get into the conference call etiquette, let us look at some of the things that could go wrong as a result of a bad conference call. You might not believe it, but there are many.
Here are some repercussions of a conference call gone bad:
Morale - If the proper etiquette is not followed, it might create some bad feelings between workers. You might find that it is harder to work with these employees as a result. Many people expect that their conference call will run with complete smoothness, no interruptions, and productivity, otherwise it is a complete waste of their time and yours.
Missed Deadlines - If there are constant interruptions or the conference call runs in a disorganized manner, things might be misunderstood. This could mean that an important deadline is missed because things were not correctly understood.
Misunderstandings - While this goes along with the missed deadlines, so many negative outcomes could arise from a misunderstanding. If for any reason, those on your conference call do not completely understand what you are telling them, it could result in not only missed deadlines, but a loss of customers, loss of revenue, loss of employees, or loss of business all the way around.
Getting it right the first time
Now that you know a few of the many problems that could arise from a conference call gone bad, it is time to take a look at the proper conference call etiquette. Every person on the conference call should practice these things. However, you cannot control the things that other people do or do not do; therefore, the only thing you can do is focus on yourself and your own etiquette and hope that everyone follows suit.
1. Quiet is the key - Make sure, when you are on the conference call that you are in a very quiet room, away from any disturbances. This will make sure that you hear everything that is going on and keep the misunderstandings to a minimum. It is impossible to keep the misunderstandings at bay if you have a dog barking, machines running, or people talking in the background.
2. The Telephone Equipment - Make sure that you are using a phone that will minimize the noise in the background. Some telephone and most all cell phones will pick up even the slightest noise or interference, which will not only cause troubles for you hearing the speakers, but others as well.
3. Using Telephone Technology - The mute button does wonders, but make sure you know how to use it. The mute button should be used if there is a lot of background noise that you simply cannot control or if someone is particularly talkative. Of course, make sure you know how to un-mute for when it is your turn to speak or answer a question.
4. Time - Make sure you set the conference call up in advance and let everyone know all information such as pass code or phone number. It is also necessary that you take time zones in to consideration if you have people across several time zones to include on the conference call.
5. Being on Time - If you are the conference call leader, you want to start right on time. Do not wait for others if they are late. People on the call want to start right away, because there may be other business they need to attend to. If you are simply in the call, be on time, you do not want to miss anything that might be important.
6. Introductions - Make sure that every person on the call introduces himself or herself. This will allow for building relationships and getting people to open up and feel comfortable.
7. Clarification - Not everyone will be able to tell who is who by the voice. Make sure before anyone speaks that his or her name is said first. For example, "this is Bob, could you repeat that company name again".
8. Eating - Never eat while you are on a conference call, who wants to hear chewing in their ear? If you must get a drink of water, put the call on mute so no one will have to hear the emitted sounds. This includes chewing gum.
9. Keep on Topic - Do not fill the call with unnecessary talk. Keep to the point, because remember there may be several people on the call that have other pressing things to do.
With the above proper conference call etiquette rules, you will find that the conference calls runs in a much more smooth and efficient manner. Keeping the proper etiquette in mind while on the conference call will make the entire call that much more productive for everyone.