The conference call is a necessary evil, essential for communicating with colleagues across the globe. It is a tricky situation to navigate and can easily be a source of confusion, frustration and a waste of time. So, if you’re going to do it, make sure you know the rules of the road.
DO book a meeting room. Just because you can call in from your car, a coffee shop, etc. does not mean you should. Find a place where you and others in your same location can sit together and focus.
DO schedule carefully. Think about international holidays and time zone differences. Find a time that is during business hours for everyone, and not over lunch. Re-send the dial-in a few minutes prior to the call to make it easy on your participants.
DO test your technology. Are you planning a screenshare or using an interactive whiteboard? Do others need to install software? Send out instructions in advance and make sure everything on your end works before the start of the meeting.
DO take advantage of the mute button to eliminate background noise.
DON’T forget to turn the mute button off when it is your turn to speak.
DON’T assume your voice is recognizable. Introduce yourself before speaking and remember to state the name of the person your question or comment is directed to.
DON’T forget that on a call there are no visual cues to help you communicate. Speak clearly and, if needed, ask to be made presenter so can share your screen to clarify what you’re speaking to.
DON’T end the conference call without identifying next steps. Save a few minutes at the end to recap and agree upon a time for the next call. Scheduling while you are all on the line is much easier than doing it after the fact.
What are the advantages and disadvantages to meeting over the phone versus meeting face to face? Share your thoughts below.
~Kathleen Sales, Quartet Blog Author & Editor