Conference Call Etiquette
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The curse of every hard working manager. Love or hate them, with
geographically dispersed teams and travel restrictions, conference
calls are here to stay as a communication medium in the workplace.
If you want to stand out from your work colleagues, then follow
these simple dos and donts of effective conference calls.
Do get comfortable with the fact you will be talking in
front of a group and receiving no visual cues or feedback.
Do use the right phone in a quiet, undisturbed room.
Dont use cell phones or phones that pick up background
noise. Calling from an open plan office is the equivalent of having
a conversation in a nightclub. If you really cant find a quiet
room, use the mute button until you are required to speak.
To avoid a Homer Simpson style Doh moment, do learn to
use the mute button and other phone technology. Your intelligent
contributions mean nothing if no one can hear them.
Do set up the meeting in advance and communicate the dial
in number, passcodes and other information. Spring forward, fall
back is something to keep in mind for your timezone crossing
colleagues. Dont work out time differences on your fingers
check on the internet or even phone a colleague in that country and
ask what time it is!
Do start the meeting absolutely on time; dont
reward latecomers bad behaviour by waiting for them. Take a role
call at the start of the meeting, highlighting the missing
attendees. Go on, get tough, people will love you for it!
Do treat the conference call as if it were a meeting. You
know the routine; prepare and circulate an agenda, take notes
Do get each caller to say hello and introduce themselves.
Even though you may never meet in person, its a good relationship
builder and gets the shyest of people to at least say their
Dont assume everyone recognises your voice. Unless you
are dis-respecting the boss and want to stay incognito, say your
name before you speak. This is particularly important for the poor
person taking meeting notes.
Do make use of guest speakers. Invite a special or
important guest and get them to say a few words at the beginning of
the meeting. No one will know they slipped out after five minutes
and youll get the benefit of undivided attention and best
Dont allow the topic to wander. Be an iron fist in a
velvet glove polite but firm if people talk too long or over each
other. If your callers are at home sitting in their pyjamas nursing
a hot chocolate, be considerate that all they want is to go to bed
and would appreciate rigorous time management.
Do ask for input by using a persons name. People will pay
more attention to avoid the embarrassment of needing the question
Dont shuffle papers; scrape chairs, pencil tap, hum or
other distracting, noisy activities. It.drivespeoplemad!
Do close the meeting formally, thanking everybody for
their time. That little bit of recognition will make them feel good
about talking to you again.
And thats about it. Apart from one very personal tip. Do
not sit on a leather chair. Ever. The problem is each time you
move around, an embarrassing noise thats at just the right
frequency to carry well over the phone is emitted. Either you
brazen it out and suffer the comments about your defective
digestive system, or sit rigid until the call is over. If you only
take one piece of advice make sure its this - do use fabric
About the AuthorLyndsay Swinton is an experienced team leader,
people manager and business coach. Her website is www.mftrou.com - 'Management for the
rest of us'. Subscribe to her free no-nonsense Management
Tips newsletter at mftrou.com today.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-06-18 23:55:06 in Computer Articles