Conference calls are an opportunity to unify the team and introduce each other and new clients via audio, video, or both mediums. While these calls may be less formal than an in-person meeting, there’s still a certain level of professionalism that you should adhere to when you’re on a conference call. Whether you’re online video calling or taking part in a classic phone-to-phone conference call, here are five unspoken rules for looking your best.
1. Introduce Yourself and Others
Introducing yourself is always a must in any meeting or conference call. Additionally, you should be introducing any new members of the team or new clients if you’re running the call yourself. Keeping everyone acquainted will help avoid confusion during the call itself.
Also, you should have new members of the team or new clients state their name before they speak. Your team may not be familiar with their voices yet, and this can cause plenty of confusion among the call’s participants.
Introduce everyone in attendance at the beginning of the call. Be sure to include titles as well, so each caller will know what the other is responsible for or where their field of expertise lies. Include introductions in your agenda so you’ve mapped out how much time it might take to get everyone acquainted with each other.
2. Don’t Speak out of Turn or Over Others
While this should just be common courtesy, you’d be amazed by how many people don’t understand basic etiquette in a conference call. Talking over someone else who’s already talking or trying to force your way into a separate conversation is not only rude and disrespectful, but it can also serve to derail the entire discussion and leave everyone scrambling to get back on track.
This also means keeping the conversation on the subject at hand as well. If you want to talk about the game or politics, a conference call is not the place to do so. Save casual talk for the break room or outside-of-work functions. Keep your comments in check until your turn comes, and always wait for your turn to speak before doing so. Maintaining a professional image is just as important in a call as it is in the office or workplace.
3. Pay Attention
The most important rule for conference calls is to pay attention to the material and the speakers. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to re-explain a topic to someone who didn’t get it the first time because they weren’t focused. Listen to what’s being discussed, take notes, and be ready to provide valuable input when your turn to speak comes about.
If you’re someone who has trouble multi-tasking or focusing, you can always ask for a copy of the recording once the meeting has concluded. From there, you can review everything that was discussed at your own leisure.
Be sure to make time in your day for the conference call so you’re not scrambling to finish your daily tasks. There are plenty of apps available to help with this, and some of the best tools to manage your time are actually free.
4. Become Familiar with the Mute Button
What’s more distracting than someone talking out of turn? Background noise. Whether you’re at home, in the office, or on the go, background noise during a conference call can be incredibly distracting and irritating at the same time. If your dog is barking, child is crying, or there’s just a lot going on in your space at the time of the call, the mute button should become your best friend.
It’s really just a simple courtesy to the other callers to reduce or eliminate your background noise. If you’ve ever participated in a call with excessive background noise, you’ll understand why it can be so detrimental to the success of the call. Hit that mute button!
5. Keep it Professional
Last, but absolutely not least, you want to keep your speech professional. Profanity is usually not a good look for a professional in a conference call; especially if you’re working with new clients. While much has changed in the business world over the years, how a professional speaks hasn’t changed much. Calm, collective, professional speaking is a valuable trait, and one you should exhibit during a conference call.
If you’re video chatting, looking professional is a good idea as well. While it’s not the same as an in-person meeting, you still want to look the part and dress to impress. Would you wear ripped jeans and a dirty t-shirt to a meeting at the office? Would you leave your hair sticking up?
If you answered no, then the same rules should apply to your conference calls (if they include video feeds).
A conference call is a good opportunity to meet new clients and team members and tackle issues remotely. Keeping up your professional image is equally as important in a conference call as it is at the office, so it’s important to remember these five rules during your next call. Don’t forget to introduce yourself!