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The Beginner’s Guide to Conference Call Etiquette

Regular face-to-face meetings can be time-consuming, over-crowded and, when they’re poorly planned, just downright unproductive. Unfortunately, such poor planning has become a staple feature of many in-person meetings, with hosts often struggling to coordinate schedules, book adequate meeting spaces and set clear agendas.

Through an online conference call, however, businesses can eradicate many of these damaging factors, instead allowing team members to collaborate through the simple click of a button. Instead of wasting time waiting for late arrivals or dealing with the common distractions which plague traditional meetings, modern web conferencing ensures meeting sessions become much more efficient and productive.

However, these platforms can only become truly effective if all attendees follow the accepted protocol and etiquette. If you aren’t aware of the rules (or just fail to acknowledge them), then conference calls can quickly become just as distracting and unproductive as those inefficient face-to-face sessions. So, what are the conferencing rules you need to know?

Join on Time

Since you don’t have to worry about any lengthy travel times or traffic delays, there really is no excuse for being late to a conference call. In fact, most web conferencing platforms will now send you reminders as to the time and date of an upcoming call, so you can’t even claim to have forgotten about the session.

By turning up late, there’s a high probability that you’re not only delaying the start of the call, but also frustrating many of your co-workers. After all, forcing them to sit around and wait for you is a monumental waste of their time; even though you might be having a particularly busy day, you need to remember that your colleagues are likely just as pressed for time as you are.

In fact, it’s always a good idea to turn up a few minutes before the scheduled time. This ensures you aren’t scuppered by any last-minute technological hiccups, while also giving you a chance to speak with other early-arrivals and properly introduce yourself. Since a recent study from LoopUp (a leading conferencing provider) showed that 63% of calls are delayed by problems with conferencing tools, showing up early should be considered a top priority.

Make Sure You’re Prepared

Of course, being on time is simply the minimum requirement of good conferencing behaviour. In addition to your timely arrival, you also need to make sure you’ve read through the agenda beforehand so you can join the meeting fully prepared. There’s simply nothing more frustrating than the sound of a colleague frantically rifling through papers for information, so you should always be properly organised for an important conference call.

When you aren’t prepared for the discussion and try to think on your feet, the conference call will soon become incredibly unproductive; since you won’t have the information required to help the team come to any informed decisions.

Minimise Background Noise

For many conference callers, distracting background noise is undoubtedly their biggest frustration. The rustling of papers or murmur of a busy coffee shop can quickly drown out the voice of the person trying to speak, leaving attendees straining their ears to figure out exactly what’s being said. When there’s a large number of people involved in the call, the multiple sources of background noise can reach almost deafening levels; inevitably leading to damaging miscommunications and inefficient sessions.

Fortunately, web conferencing platforms allow you to mute yourself when you’re not talking, meaning that you can prevent any background noise coming from your end. When everyone on the call successfully follows this practise, then attendees can enjoy crystal clear audio and perfectly understand how the meeting is progressing. However, you also need to make sure you remember to unmute yourself when it’s your turn to speak!

By following these simple behavioural tips, you can ensure that conference calls become much more productive and ultimately avoid wasting any time.

Oliver

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