Since I work at home and collaborate on projects with individuals all over the world, I participate in at least two conference calls a week. It has become such a routine that I don’t even think about it. But maybe I should, because how I conduct myself says a lot about dedication and attention to the work at hand. In fact, sometimes I never have the chance to meet a colleague in person, and our conference calls form the basis of the only impression he has of me!
In case conference calls are a regular part of your day, here are some simple reminders to keep in mind:
No one likes to sit on hold waiting for tardy attendees to show up so the meeting can begin. Be considerate of other participants by marking each call on your calendar and dialing in a few minutes before start time in case your connection is delayed. Once you are connected, announce yourself so the host can note your attendance.
Review the Agenda
Hopefully, your host will prepare the group for the call by providing context and sending out supporting documents in advance. Do your part by looking over the materials and jotting down notes on the items about which you will be expected to contribute.
Prevent Background Noise
If you are in a noisy location, mute your phone when you are not speaking so that your colleagues’ voices aren’t drowned out. Should another call come in, be careful of putting the call on hold as you could subject the whole conference to irritating elevator music.
This is tough on long calls, especially those that may take place outside your normal business hours. But resist the urge to surf the Internet or type on your smartphone while your colleagues are talking. Listen well and speak up at appropriate intervals so that your colleagues know you are actively engaged in the discussion.