Audio conferencing has been around for sometime now. Almost everyone who has worked in an office environment has used it, and many people use it multiple times a day.
Typically, when you jump on your first conference call you don’t receive an email of do’s and don’ts or Google “best practices”, you just dial the conference number, enter the access code and then awkwardly wait for everyone else to join and start the call.
Have you ever seen the popular YouTube Video, Conference call in real life? Check it out, it is hysterical and sadly, pretty accurate. The audio conferencing faux pas in the video are numerous…
Conference calls are best utilized when you need to meet with a small group of people who work remotely and need to discuss a specific agenda. Take note of our top five audio conferencing faux pas you should avoid to ensure you don’t embarrass yourself on your next conference call! Or at least some takeaway tips for being your best self over the conference line.
5 Audio Conferencing Faux Pas
1. Not announcing yourself
We’ve all done it. Joined a conference call and because there was a large group, you didn’t even bother to say, “Hello, Barb is on.” Or you announce yourself at the beginning when only one person is on and never say hello again. Conference calls only work if you participate and people know who is on.
Our tip? Designate an attendance taker! This person should jump on the call 5 minutes early to greet all attendees before the meeting officially starts, can announce everyone who joined the call.
2. Stopped listening
Not listening after a certain point is very common. Sure, it’s tough being on a long conference call with a million-billion updates that have “nothing” to do with you and your work. Or one where some long winded co-worker goes on and on about something that is so irrelevant. It’s all too easy to stop listening and put your speaker on mute. Now you get to answer emails, catch up on last night’s sports scores or read conferencing tip blogs, whatever works for you.
Stop doing this! At some point, the nonsense will stop, and you will miss out on need-to-know information that IS important to you! Instead, be a part of the solution and request that your long-winded co-worker takes this topic off-line, or suggest a separate meeting so that you can stick to the agenda. Remember, if you’re bored, chances are someone else is too.
3. Your dog joined the call
We get it, you love your dog, and he is probably at your feet ALL day as you work from the comfort of your home. But truthfully, if you’re dog is trying to play during a conference call, we can all hear what is happening.
Put the fluffy guy away prior to the call beginning to eliminate the possibility of distraction. Or at least put your phone on mute so you can pretend to listen. Sorry to be so harsh.
To make up for it, here is a picture of a yawning puppy (so cute!):
4. Not speaking directly or clearly
Communication is everything! We hear it over and over. So make sure when you are communicating, you are speaking directly into the phone mouthpiece, speaker or headset microphone.
When you talk, don’t speak softly, use a medium voice that is confident and direct. It can be a battle to be heard, make sure what you are saying counts and that everyone can hear you.
5. Talking over someone
Usually, when someone is invited to a conference call, it’s because someone else believes that they have something to add to the conversation. And sometime’s that someone tends to drive the entire conversation, which makes it hard to get a word in edgewise.
Don’t be that person that yells to be heard or stops speaking because “there is no point in trying.” Instead, pipe up during a quick break and mention that you have something to say. Ideally, the person running the meeting can call for comments and make a list of everyone who has offered something to say, and each person will then be called on to talk. Let’s call this, “verbally raising your hand.” Suggest it at your next online meeting, and see the difference in communication!
Don’t forget, conference calls have a purpose! Don’t be a time-waster, use the conference calls to your advantage and if others are abusing the call, step-in and keep everyone on track if no one else is doing so.
Want to make sure you avoid other audio conferencing faux pas in the future? Check out our recent blog, Audio Conferencing Done Right, for more helpful tips.