20 Rules for Better Conference Calls

20 Rules for Better Conference Calls or “Don’t make me reach through this phone and slap you!”

This article was born from experience. After you have sat through so many conference calls, you just can’t put up with one more heavy-breather, or side-talker or snack-muncher. You just snap.

When that moment comes you have two choices. Go on a manic screaming tirade, or write a sarcastic article. I chose the latter.

Now, you can benefit from my passive aggressiveness. The next time one of your co-workers sends you over the edge with rude conference call behavior, email them the link to this article. They will thank you for showing them the light. (Editor’s note: They won’t thank you… but others may.)

You may notice that these rules are simple and common sense. Yeah, I noticed that too and yet I still had to write the article… Go figure.

So without further ado, here are the 20 Rules of Conference Call Etiquette

    Reduce Environmental Noise

  1. Pick a quiet place to take your conference call.
  2. Be mindful of nearby babies, animals, lawnmowers, and swimming pools (Yes, it really happened).
  3. Close the office door or window before taking the call.
  4. Don’t join conference calls from public places. (This is a noise and privacy thing)
  5. If you have to join a call from a car, use the mute feature.
  6. Reduce Personal Noise.

  7. Don’t play with the microphone or shuffle papers near it.
  8. Position the microphone correctly, close enough to pick up your voice but not your breathing. (Yes it’s nice to know you are still alive, but how do we know you are not asleep.)
  9. Don’t eat while on the phone! (it sounds gross, and look at your phone… Ewww!)
  10. Don’t hold other conversations. (Multitasking doesn’t really work.)
  11. Equipment Matters

  12. You must have a mute button and know how to use it quickly
  13. Avoid wireless phones and cell phones. (You are not that important)
  14. If you are alone, do not use a speakerphone.
  15. Invest in a good wired headset with adjustable boom microphone.
  16. Never put a conference call on hold. (No matter how nice the hold Muzak™ is.)
  17. Mind Your Manners

  18. Start on time – This is a good rule for all meetings.
  19. Introduce all call participants at the beginning of the call
  20. State your name before talking. Don’t assume people will recognize your voice. (This works in reverse too, don’t assume people won’t recognize your voice, so think before speaking.)
  21. Avoid interrupting other speakers
  22. Be concise
  23. End the call properly – Wrap up the meeting, sign off and hang up. (I was once in a meeting where everyone in the room simply got up and left without saying goodbye or hanging up the phone.)

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