As people grow busier and businesses find a greater need to connect from across large distances, conference calls have become more common. By using conference calls, people around the world can communicate faster and more efficiently without the delays inherent in email and messaging systems. However, this means that etiquette in phone calls is more important than ever.
What You Should Do
When communicating by conference phone or conference station, you should always make sure to announce your presence to all other people in the call. The first thing you should say when addressing the group is your name. This makes you seem more pleasant and aware that you are among strangers, and it lets the others return to you specifically when they need to respond to something you said. Also, take a moment to test your microphone before joining the call. Loud breathing is a common frustration in conference calls, and it can drown out people who speak softly. Check your microphone’s sensitivity and distance from your face to remove this distraction. When setting up a conference, include as much detail as possible. If the host provides a meeting request service, use that instead of a regular email. It will provide all of the needed information to everyone invited to the call while reducing the work you need to do. A very notable feature to learn to use is the mute function. Use this to negate unwanted noise as soon as it starts. Don’t forget to reactivate your sound once the noise ends. Most critically, make sure you pay attention. People can tell when you’re doing something else, even over conference phones. Do the work you need to do either before or after the call. Other than missing important details, paying half-attention to the call is simply rude.
What You Shouldn’t Do
Do not join the call late. Conference calls are substitutions for face-to-face meetings and as such require the same amount of respect for the participants. IF someone is hogging a conference station for personal use, kindly explain your situation and ask that person to leave. Do not use a weak speaker. If the conference members can’t hear you, receive interference, or if you need to use one conference phone for a group of people, your ideas may not reach the other ends of the call. Do not let one person speak too much. A conference call is not a personal soapbox and should benefit from roughly equal input from everyone involved. Similarly, don’t talk over people. Respect the other members’ rights to talk, too. Finally, stick to the call agenda. Any time left over after business can be used for socializing.
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