Ever expanding globalization and the cost-cutting trend of having professional employees work from home makes phone etiquette more important than it has ever been in the past. The ability to effectively lead and participate in conference calls can make the difference between success and failure of vital distance projects.
Teleconference Call Etiquette for Productivity
Planning Ahead: Effective Telephone Communications for Leaders
It will benefit everyone attending the meeting when the leader plans ahead. Everyone needs the correct time for the meeting and the correct information to dial into the phone conference. If members are in different time zones, it will be most effective to give the meeting time clearly labeled in both the time zone of the leader and of the attendees. The meeting time should be clearly stated in the time zone of each participant. It is frustrating to have an attendee show up just as the meeting is breaking up because time zone information was not clearly expressed.
Circulate an agenda plus any handouts or other peripherals needed for the conference call. Confirm that each attendee receives the information. It is easier to redistribute peripheral information before the conference call than to deal with the confusion of someone asking questions that do not quite make sense to anyone else. Taking time to plan ahead makes the teleconference run smoother and allows for a productive meeting.
Be Clear About Conference Call Rules
Send out information on any specific rules attendees should follow. Each person should know in advance that they need to say who they are each time they speak. It is not safe to assume that others will recognize the voice of the person speaking. Be clear regarding expectations for members. If handouts and peripherals have been distributed, make sure the attendees know they are expected to have reviewed those documents and to have them ready at hand for discussion points. It is also helpful to let conference members know ahead of time that the agenda is going to be followed to keep the meeting orderly.
Basic Teleconference Rules for Attendees
It might be tempting for multitasking meeting attendees- especially those who are on the go- to call into the meeting from cell phones. It is, however, best to avoid using a mobile phone to call into a conference call if at all possible. Cell phones pick up more background noise than landlines plus they often move into areas where reception is poor and static noises take over. Background noises from mobile phones end up causing distractions to others in the telephone meeting.
When it is time to dial into the conference call, make the call from a quiet room. Crying children, barking dogs and background noise coming from a television or radio distract everyone else. The person in charge of the meeting is not going to be happy if the meeting is stopped short by poor telephone manners and background noise. If for any reason it is not possible to be in a quiet room, at least check to see if the phone that is going to be used has a mute feature that could be used to stop interference when it is not the time to speak. Finally, notify the leader in advance of the possibility of background noise.
Teleconferencing is an important and effective part of doing business in today’s global economy. Leading and participating in conference calls can be challenging but following conference call etiquette increases productivity.