A lot of us are working from home these days. And that means that we’re all attending a lot of conference calls.

Recently, I was on a call and I heard some hilarious background noise coming from a coworker’s phone. She has a busy household and several dogs, and she had forgotten to mute her line. She quickly remedied the situation, and now I think everyone on our team is pretty good about keeping our phones muted when we’re not talking.

So our team has figured that out. Hopefully your conference call attendees have figured that out as well! But it takes more than just the judicious use of your mute button to make a conference call run smoothly. According to author Nina Shahverdyan, there are other things that we should all be doing to make our conference calls informative and productive. Here are a few tips…

If you’re the host:

  • Make sure the participants know what the purpose of the meeting is and who else will be attending. Send out an agenda, if appropriate.
  • Check the equipment that you’re going to be using before the conference starts. Make sure that everything is fully charged and ready to go.
  • Choose a quiet area in which to hold your conference. Even though there might be other people (and pets) in the house with you, try to ensure that you’ll be free of distractions.
  • During the meeting, prevent people from going off on tangents. If your participants start to go off track, try to reign them in quickly.
  • End the meeting when it’s supposed to end. Respect peoples’ time, and don’t let it run over. If not everything was resolved or discussed, schedule a new meeting.
  • Don’t end the meeting abruptly. Take a little time to wrap things up. And allow participants a minute or two to ask any questions that they might have.

If you’re a participant:

  • Be on time. Being a few minutes late on a conference call can be very disruptive.
  • Say “hello” when you join the meeting to let people know you’re there. And introduce yourself, if necessary.
  • Don’t dominate the conversation. You might have a lot of crucial things to say, but it’s still important to give other people the chance to talk.
  • If you’re talking, and you need to take a few seconds to check on your notes or something, let everyone know what you’re doing. Sudden silence is disconcerting on a conference call. Participants might mistakenly believe that you’ve dropped off or that they’re having technical difficulties.
  • Only talk about the things that are on the meeting agenda. If you have other topics that you need to discuss, talk to your manager about setting up a separate meeting.
  • If you have to drop off of the conference call early, inform everyone that you’re doing so. If you drop off without warning, people may still try to talk to you without realizing that you’re no longer there.

Shahverdyan, N. (n.d.). Quick guide to conference call etiquette. Krisp. Retrieved from: https://krisp.ai/blog/conference-call-etiquette-guide/