If you're looking to enter into the conference call foray, perhaps using a free conferencing service to get started, we have compiled a list of the most important dos and don'ts to make sure that you don't fall foul of any conference call faux pas.
1. Get comfortable with the fact youre going to be speaking front of a group, and that you also wont be getting any visual cues or feedback
2. Conduct the conference call in a quiet room that wont be subject to any disruption
3. Arrange the conference call well in advance, inviting attendees and communicating the dial in number, passcodes and other important information (agenda, attendees etc.)
4. Make sure the meeting starts exactly on time – take a register of attendees and dont make any allowances for latecomers – theyll never learn, and youll irritate those who are on time as lateness is likely to disrupt their tight schedule
5. Treat the conference call as if it were a regular meeting by preparing and distributing the agenda and taking minutes etc.
1. Use phones that pick up background noise (e.g. mobile phones)
2. Assume everyone recognises your voice - state your name before you begin speaking, every time you speak. And in the same vein, always ask for input by using a persons name - people will pay more attention when they hear their name, which will avoid the embarrassment of them having to ask you to repeat the question if their concentration happens to stray
3. Allow the conversation stray from the topics listed on the agenda. Be polite but firm if people talk too long or over each other
4. Shuffle papers, tap your pencil, tap your fingers, tap your feet, hum or engage in any other form of distracting, irritating noise-making activities
5. Work out time differences between countries on your fingers or guess them – always be sure to check on the Internet before you call.
So if you heed these tips, your first conference call should go swimmingly. When you come to close the meeting formally, thank everybody for their time – you could even make preliminary arrangements for the next conference call.