Teleconferencing finishing school: a guide to conference call etiquette

confrencing

Whether you’re dealing with clients, potential clients, vendors or contractors, it’s always a good idea to present the company you work for in a flattering light.
These days, it’s common for the people you work with to be located in a variety of places and in order to keep the lines of communication open, teleconferencing has become a popular choice for facilitating conversations. Not only is it a fast and simple way to get everyone together, but it’s also a low cost option that cuts down on travel and your carbon footprint.

Of course, just like everything else in the business world, conference calls have their own set of rules. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to teleconferencing, or have been using this tool for sometime, read on to make sure you know what’s considered good etiquette before you pick up the telephone again.

·      Have a plan for the conversation
As with any other type of meeting, it can help to have a list of topics to cover. This will ensure that nothing gets missed and can keep the conversation on topic.

·      Arrange for a reminder email to be sent
Sending out a quick reminder to everyone prior to the meeting can be a good way to make sure everyone dials in at the right time. Include any relevant information in the message, such as the time and date, phone number and access code.

·      Know your phone controls
Before the call, take a look at the various controls on your phone to make sure you understand what they do and how they work. Locate the volume controls and see if there’s a mute button – this can come in handy if you need to cough or sneeze, or are unexpectedly interrupted.

·      Be on time
Make sure you’re sitting in front of the phone five minutes before the call is due to start and consider dialing in two to three minutes early. It can be very frustrating for those already on the call to wait around for latecomers, especially if they don’t know each other well.

·      The moderator’s responsibilities
If you’re the moderator of the conference call, be sure to introduce everyone at the beginning of the conversation. You should also try to keep the discussion on topic and provide a short summary at the end. It’s also recommended that you initiate any necessary follow-ups after the call is over.

·      Avoid background noise
Background noise can be terribly disrupting during a conference call, so make sure you choose a quiet place to dial in from. A boardroom or meeting room are both good choices, while home workers should make sure they also won’t be disturbed. Avoid taking a conference call when you’re out and about, as you won’t be able to give the discussion your full attention and you can’t control the noise level around you.

·      Don’t use the hold button
You may not even realise that your phone system plays music when you put a caller on hold, but just think if you put the conference call on hold – even for a minute – the sound will be extremely distracting and, if loud enough, could put a halt to the conversation.

·      Consider recording the conversation
By recording a conference call, everyone will be able to go back and listen to what was said again, preventing disputes or misunderstandings. Many teleconferencing services, such as Buzz Conferencing, make it easy to record the conversation – simply press the right button. At the end of the conference call, the recording will be emailed to the moderator. Just make sure that everyone is aware the conversation is being recorded.

 

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