I’m pretty sure I can hear eye rolls on conference calls. The truth is that when we aren’t meeting in person, we get casual and maybe a little unprofessional. There’s usually at least one person who you know has muted the call so they can work on other things. You know this when suddenly he’s asked a question, it takes a minute for him to turn off mute, and then he has no idea what the group was talking about. Be present and respectful to your colleagues.
Speaking of respecting your colleagues, don’t schedule a conference call for what could be an email. Wasting people’s time will not win you any favor. Have an agenda sent out prior to the meeting so people are clear about the point of the call.
Treat conference calls as seriously and professionally as you would a face-to-face meeting. Above all, be gracious, regardless of your position in the company. Don’t use a conference call, or any meeting, to blindside someone. If you think the data they have submitted is incorrect or incomplete, communicate that with them before the meeting. Don’t use a meeting—in-person or call—to embarrass a peer, or even worse, a subordinate.
Here are 10 tips—some obvious and some apparently more challenging:
- Don’t eat on the phone unless it is a lunch meeting and this has been established before the meeting.
- Don’t have music playing in the background.
- Don’t mute unless you have to be in a car or a busy location (airport, restaurant, etc.).
- Be prepared.
- Have an agenda and stick to it.
- Start and end on time.
- Ask to extend the meeting if it’s necessary to go longer.
- Identify yourself before you speak.
- If you have to leave the call early, inform the group.
- Be kind.
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