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Conference Calls: The Basic Do's and Don'ts

Jan 18, 2008
Conference calls have been around for a long time and people either love them or hate them, there doesn't seem to be much middle ground. Love them or hate them, they are one of the best ways to communicate with a group of people at one time.

Even those that are not fans of the group calls usually prefer them to making many calls providing the same information. You simply can get a lot done in one phone call if you have all involved parties on one line. There are some simple things that you should and should not do conference call etiquette.

Conference Call Etiquette

Conference call etiquette is like a lot of things, simply being aware of what you are doing and what it may sound like on the other end of the phone. One of the worst things that people do when they are on a conference call is forgetting about the background noise around them. One of the most irritating things to people is a barking dog in the background.

When you know that you will be getting on your conference call you should make arrangements so that your pets as well as your children will not be distracting to you or the other callers on the phone

Another thing that you need to think about is when you use the mute button. Too many people have lost their jobs or respect by pushing the mute button on the phone, complaining about the boss, the content of the call, or simply to make derogatory comments.

Unfortunately, it seems like the mute button will suddenly stop working and the boss will hear all of the details. You shouldn't push the mute button during a conference call unless absolutely necessary, and to avoid limiting your career you should never make derogatory remarks while on the phone.

Another thing that you should be aware of when or if you do have to push the mute button is that it may affect the rest of the call. Many business phones will start playing music when you push mute, so if your phone does this, avoid pushing mute. The rest of the people on the phone want to talk instead of being serenaded.

One thing that you absolutely should do is behave as though you are actually attending a meeting. If you approach the situation professionally your attitude will rub off on others and you'll get a lot more accomplished. Also make sure that you take notes and that you address everyone on the call.

You should also assume that no one will recognize your voice, so you may want to identify yourself before you start talking. You may also want to have everyone go around and introduce themselves and what their position is. Since you do not have any visual cues when you are on a conference call this is often a good way to get things started.

One more thing that you will want to do is formally close the conference call. Thank everyone for their time and let them know that you appreciate their input. This will bring the call to an end and let everyone know they are free to hang up.
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