Conference calls can be downright unruly at times. Bad connections, background noise, and awkward silence are a few problems you can encounter. What about dead air, when no one is talking? As a salesperson who works remotely, or for anyone in business it’s important to know the conference calls rules of engagement. Whether the call is with a client or an internal weekly meeting it’s important to follow these rules of engagement to help make the call productive.
Pardon this brief technological interruption
Make sure that the conference line and all necessary equipment are functioning properly before you start your call. Nothing appears more unprofessional than equipment not working properly. If you plan on using a web-based meeting service like Go To Meeting test the line beforehand.
Make sure all participants know the purpose of the call
A clear agenda should be outlined beforehand and agreed upon by all participants. This will keep the meeting flowing. There is nothing more frustrating than being on a call with no clear agenda or objectives.
Announce who you are and let others introduce themselves
When there are multiple people involved in the meeting and you can’t be seen it’s important to know who is speaking. Take a moment before the call to make sure everyone announces themselves and gives a clear introduction as to who they are and what they do.
Don’t call in late
Your time is not more important than the other participants and we don’t want to hold up the call waiting for you or have to go back and recap when you arrive 10 minutes late. Dial-in early if possible. It’s always better to be early than late.
If you are offsite/onsite limit background noise
If you hear background noise everyone does, so please for the love of god if you are off-site, mute your phone. No one wants to hear the squawk of a seagull or the swing of a golf club. We can hear everything on the other end and it’s distracting. This goes for on-site calls as well. Every whisper or ruffle of paper in the room is magnified. And please don’t have side discussions. We hear those too! If by some chance you are somewhere and can not help the background noise let the participants know in advance. “I’m in my car so I apologize for any background noise”.
Pay attention to the time
Pay attention to the time and don’t run over. Stay focused and try to avoid going off on too many tangents. No one likes to have their schedule comprised by a call that ran long. Stay to the agenda and on point unless everyone agrees to veer off course.
Don’t talk over one another
Often times conference calls become a jumbled mess of people speaking over each other. Much like an episode of The View. Let the person speaking finish their sentence before you chime in. This happens all the time and can really hinder the meeting/call. This is probably one of the most important things to worry about during a conference call.
Even if you have a loud booming voice it can be muffled by the conference call. Ensure that you are speaking clearly, loudly, and slowly. If you are using a speakerphone speak loudly when it’s your turn. If you are a “soft talker” move closer to the speaker so the participants will hear you.
Participate when necessary
Don’t be the guy/gal who needs to add something just to be heard. If you have nothing to add don’t. On the other hand, you don’t want to be the potted plant in the room. Make sure what you are adding makes sense and adds value.
Always say goodbye
Make sure to always say goodbye at the end of your call. Even if you didn’t add much to the conversation throw a goodbye in at the end. If you were talking to someone one on one you would say goodbye. The same manners are true for a group conference call.
Have you ever encountered any of these situations during a conference call? Let me know below and for more tips visit The Muse.