Business etiquette in general creates a respectful, professional environment. This environment promotes good business relations, which translates to better professional relationships.
At work, a significant portion of your time will be spent at meetings either as an attendee or host. Putting your best self forward and displaying the proper meeting etiquette will help you to get the best from others and boost your profile in the company.
Conferencing meetings are helpful when participants are at different locations. It saves attendees time and money because it negates the need for people to travel to a single physical location for the meeting. However, concerning meeting etiquette, it comes with unique challenges.
Let’s look at 10 conference call meeting etiquette rules you should use when hosting conference call meetings…
The 10 fundamental rules of conference call meeting etiquette
1. Remind participants to dial in three to five minutes early
This conference call meeting etiquette rule allows you to verify that the technology works for everyone and allows you to ‘break the ice’ with those who are waiting for the others to join. A tip here is to resist the urge to discuss anything on the agenda. All participants should be present before any agenda item is discussed.
2. Keep conference call details available
In the event others misplace the information and you need to provide it again, you will have it on hand e.g. the pin number. This shows that you are organised, efficient and prepared for all eventualities regardless of how minute it may be.
3. Remind participants to use the mute button when not contributing
This is an important conference call meeting etiquette practice as it prevents the speaker being interrupted by unnecessary sound and feedback from the equipment of other participants. Also, it ensures any alternate conversations during the meeting do not disrupt the flow of the meeting.
4. Be mindful of all sounds
It can detract from the meeting and depending on the level of noise, it may even prevent the meeting from taking place e.g. a busy room, static from the equipment, noisy jewelry, shuffling of paper or a pet when working from home.
5. Use a landline where possible
Landlines usually provide a better connection than cell phones and there is less chance of the call dropping out or losing battery power. This reduces the chance of having to prematurely end or reschedule the meeting.
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6. Verify the attendees on the call and make the required introductions
Similar to in-person meetings, don't assume everyone knows each other. This is an essential conference call meeting etiquette rule especially when the meeting is the first in the project or there are participants external to the company. The proper etiquette for introductions is external attendee to the team and highest seniority first regardless of gender.
7. Cover audio-specific protocol
To ensure a beneficial experience for all, the proper conference call meeting protocol must be communicated e.g. how someone could notify you should they have issues with their conference call details.
8. Address people by name when speaking specifically to them
One conference call meeting etiquette rule that is not consistently used, is directing questions and comments to specific persons or locations. Conference call meetings lack a very important factor, there is no visual communication. Therefore, it will make others aware your communication is directed at them and prevent confusion when responding.
9. Use efficient pauses to give others time to contribute
There may be a time delay in participants receiving your communication or doubt about who should respond first. Also, you should periodically check that everyone is connected and can hear you and remember to unmute your phone before you speak.
10. Be the last to sign off conference call facilities
This final conference call meeting etiquette rule is another rule that is not followed consistently. As the host, it is good practice to be the last to sign off but a vital point to note… do not continue to discuss the meeting with selected colleagues on the same conference call session after the meeting has ended. You never know who could still be connected to the call.
Conference calls have made it easier to connect and do business at anytime and anywhere. The benefit is great but the basic rules of meeting etiquette should always be applied.
The appropriate video conference meeting etiquette you should follow is covered in the blog: 12 Video conference meeting etiquette rules you need to know.
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