Watch this great video by US comedy duo Tripp and Tyler, who expose some of the most common and most annoying irritations of conference call meetings. The video is hilarious – because all – well most – of it is true. Once you’ve seen the video, and for those of you who have suffered the pains and agonies of conference calls, scroll down to for some tried and tested tips on good conference call etiquette.
Conference Call Tips
- Ask yourself whether a conference call meeting is really necessary. If you are unsure, don’t have one.
- If you absolutely must have the meeting, make sure it’s no longer than 15 minutes. No longer. If you’re the host, remember that over a third of meetings are considered unproductive – follow these tips to avoid your meeting falling into that category.
- Make sure you have all the documents you need prior to the call. Pre-empt questions to make sure you’re fully prepared.
- If you are the host, make sure everyone knows exactly what time they’re expected. Encourage invited guests to show up five minutes early; even a minute late can be enormously distracting.
- If at all possible, make it a rule that people join the conference when they are stationary, not when they are on-the-move as this can affect the quality of the connection.
- If you’re working from home, make sure you’re in the quietest part of your house when you’re having the call – where you won’t be distracted. And don’t eat, drink play games on your mobile phone or focus on other work while you’re having the conference call. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, 82 percent of employees admit to engaging in other activities while on a call.
- If you’re hosting the meeting, dial in five minutes earlier than everyone else; this will help you ensure that any access code issues are sorted out before the meeting starts. If you’re accessing the call using a VoIP service, check the sound quality and your microphone before the meeting starts.
- Ask whether you have to attend the meeting. Is your contribution needed, or if not, can you listen to a recording later or read the minutes of the meeting once they’re disseminated? Could you speak to someone on the phone? Treat your time as a valuable commodity – don’t attend a meeting for its own sake, especially if you have other work to do. And conference calls aren’t cheap.
- Make sure you know the names of everyone invited on the call and tick off their names when they announce themselves.
- If you’re not hosting the meeting, be sure to activate your ‘mute’ button for the duration of the meeting and only ‘unmute’ when you have something to contribute to the meeting.
The key to effective conference call meetings is that everyone works to the same rules and the same etiquette. It sounds easy enough, but it’s harder in practice.
Are you a fan of conference call meetings? Feel free to share any best practices not included in this list.