Conference calls have revolutionized the way businesses communicate, saving time and money. Many companies now hold regular daily, weekly or monthly calls between 3 or more participants. However, for participants that are new to audio conferences, there can be a tendency to not properly follow protocol, which ultimately makes calls less effective. Here are five simple tips so that you can contribute in a positive manner and enjoy your participation in a audio conference call:
1) Be early on the call, not Late! – Like any normal meeting being punctual is very important. If you are not on time you may miss important information about the agenda for the call and protocol. You may also be left until last to speak or even worse left off altogether. This can become extremely annoying if you have important information to pass on. Logging into the conference 5-10 minutes before is good practice.
2) Call from a quiet place – If you are participating in an audio conference call then you should ideally select a quiet room or place to call from. If you are calling in from your home then you will have children and pets in the background or appliances making distracting noise. In the office there are different distractions such as phones ringing and people chatting. You may be able to mute these from the call, but once you start talking they will be causing you much distress whilst you are thinking of what you are saying.
3) Try to avoid calling in from a mobile phone – Using a mobile phone to conduct an audio conferencing call is a bad idea. Mobile phones cause call interference as they use a different format for transferring data. This may irritate other participants, as the line will appear crackly or fuzzy for all listening in. If a mobile phone is all you have, use the mute function if you are not speaking as this will lessen the distraction on the side of the participants.
4) Don’t put the call on hold – Putting the conference call on hold distracts the participants especially when the phone has hold beeps or music. Many users will be left bemused and it is hard to catch up when you are not focused. If for any reason you need to leave and you are not sure at what time you can join the audio conference call, it is better to hang up and call again if you are ready.
5) Raise your hand to speak – Avoid butting in whilst others are talking or it is not your turn. There will usually be a method to attract the attention of the chair person or organizer. Most audio conferences have a ‘raise hand’ option, which seems to work best. This informs the chair person you wish to speak and they will usually invite you in once and chance is available. If you ignore this option and simply talk over people, you will very quickly alienate others and could be asked to leave.
Follow these simple steps and you will have much more productive and enjoyable conference calls. If you don’t then you will soon encounter delays, interference and general annoyance of all participants involved.