Without solid Conference Call Etiquette your meeting quickly gets reduced to a Shemozzle.
Conference calls can be an excellent tool for communicating with colleagues at a distance. The tool must be used properly in order to be effective. This means that everyone involved in a conference call must be aware of and follow some basic rules. These Rule enable the call to go smoothly and be effective.
Biggest issue with Conference Call Effectiveness
The hardest thing to control when you are running a Conference call is the issues. Most issues result from not being able to see the other people in the meeting.
While this seems minor the truth is that we all pickup a tremendous amount of information from Visual Qeues. These Qeues impact many parts of the conversation. Things like when people are done talking to when you should start talking. Even Basics like the true meaning of what is being said.
Without the visual aids it become very easy to misunderstand what was meant.
This leads to not understanding what is expected of yourself and everyone else as a result of this meeting.
The best way to make sure everyone is on the same path after a Conference meeting is write-up a summary of the meeting.
The Summary outlines what was said and what the action steps are as a result of this.
Everyone should be sent a copy and then anyone who thinks its wrong has the opportunity to add or modify this.
Step 1: Be Prepared
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you are fully prepared to discuss the subject. You must have all relevant documents and materials in front of you. You do not want to be frantically digging through your files for the one you need while everyone waits for you and thinks about what an idiot you are. Part of being prepared entails making sure you have a quiet place where you will not be interrupted to conduct the call, as well. You do not want traffic noises, children’s play, or the sounds of a busy office in the background.
Distractions drown out what you are saying. It may be best to put your phone on “mute” while others are speaking. This way, you can hear everything that is being said without distracting others with noises from your phone.
Step 2: Be Prepared
Regardless of how the meeting is done, you must be prepared.
Remember how all eyes are on you when you cannot answer questions in the boardroom meetings ?
The same thing happens in Virtual meetings.
The only thing different is you may not feel all the attention you don’t want in the moment.
Know what is expected and be ready to answer questions and offer insights and solutions.
Everyone else will feel you respect them and their time when you are fully prepared.
Know Who is In Charge & Respect Them
A clear agenda and a designated leader or facilitator is absolutely necessary for teleconferences. One person must be in charge of directing the conversation and bringing it back on track should it begin to stray off topic.
This leader ensures that all of the items on the agenda get dealt with. The other participants must take their cue from the leader and do their best to cooperate with and follow the agenda.
Conference Etiquette Starts with Speaking Clearly and Slowly
When it is your turn to speak, remember to identify yourself clearly, especially if you are not known to some of the participants.
You may even need to state your company name and your role within that company in order to keep everyone clear on the particulars of the call.
Not interrupting other speakers, of course, is a given, as is paying attention to what others are saying.
It is really easy to not understand what someones means in a virtual meaning.
Perhaps you cannot hear them clearly or visual clues are missing.
To combat some of these issues there are things you can do
Using a headset allows you to quickly increase the volume when someone new speaks at a lower level than the last person.
If you can’t hear them you can’t understand them.
While many people work in a traditional office and only go to meetings down the hallway, a new breed of satellite office workers are now only using Video Conferencing methods for all there meetings. Read our Main Article on Video Conferencing to understand your options and limitations.