Conference calls are a fantastic tool for helping businesses keep their team members connected and communicate with their target audiences. Conference calls can be used anywhere, at any time, and can be used to connect a virtually limitless number of people. However, to make a conference call as effective as possible, it’s important for hosts and attendees to follow certain guidelines to keep things running smoothly. Here are five etiquette tips from the Conference Group for better conference calls.
In a conference call, attendees have to know the voices of individual speakers to know who is talking. For teams that have spent a lot of time together, they already know the voices of the coworkers. However, if it’s unclear to a conference call audience who is speaking, the call will be muddled and unproductive. These introductions don’t have to be complicated. Simply saying the name of each attendee and having them respond with a “HI” gives everyone some frame of reference for determining who is speaking. Depending on the nature of the meeting, it may be useful to go around to everyone on the call, allowing each person to state their name, job title, and their role in the upcoming discussion. When using the Operated Assisted conference call feature from Together Talk Audio, the operator can assist the meeting organizer with introductions by taking roll at the start of a call.
When hosting a conference call, it’s vital to account for any silence that happens. In a traditional meeting, silence is okay because you can see the person is still there. But in a virtual meeting, silence could indicate there is a problem with the line or that someone has disconnected from the call. Accounting for dead air assures the participants there are no technical difficulties. Worse still, silence can be misinterpreted as rudeness if the audience doesn’t know what’s happening. For example, if someone asks a question and you need to look up the answer, describes the steps you are taking to find the answer. This action eliminates the dead air and lets the audience know you aren’t ignoring them.
A common problem with meetings, whether in person or virtual, is the potential for the meeting to go off track due to side conversations about issues that don’t affect everyone at the meeting. For example, if a conference brings up something that affects a subset of the people in attendance, organizers shouldn’t allow that specialized discussion to hold up everyone else. The best way to handle these situations is to save that conversation for later. When planning the meeting agenda, the organizer can include a quick blurb about the issue, then tell the relevant team member that the item can be discussed after the conference call. This keeps the meeting on track and prevents it from being a time drain for the other people in attendance.
The end of a conference call can be just as important as everything that came before. It’s a good idea to review the major talking points of the meetings and to review what has been accomplished. This review is more than a reminder; it’s an opportunity to verify that a consensus has been reached on the items discussed in the meeting. Meeting organizers should also go over any assignments that were created as a result of the call. These actions make sure that all meeting attendees are on the same page before signing off:
It’s vital that everyone on a conference call do all they can to preserve the audio quality of the call. Callers should mute their lines when they aren’t speaking to prevent background noise from interrupting the conversation. It’s also important to speak clearly and loudly. If you aren’t on a landline, make sure your cell phone has good reception when you join the line. Conference call organizers should also choose a service provider that has high-quality audio. Together Talk Audio from the Conference Group is full of features that help organizations get the most from their virtual meetings.
If you’re ready to take your remote meetings to the next level, the Conference Group is here to help. Our suite of applications includes services for conference calls, video meetings, and webinars. Talk to one of our Meeting Specialists to discuss ideas for saving time and money when hosting conference calls.