There are four basic principles that if adopted by all those involved in the call will make the call a productive decision making tool. They are:
• Do not use a 'hold' facility
• Do not use a sub-standard handset
• Do not use 'call waiting'
• Use the mute facility

The reasoning for each of these principles is quite simple. It is important that you avoid putting your phone on hold during a teleconference because if you do the other participants left on the call will have to listen to the phone systems music, which is an unnecessary and very irritating diversion.

Another irritating aspect of conference calls is the static interference others can hear from users of poor quality handsets. You also need to be aware that if you use speakerphones on your calls you will effectively be "clipping off" parts of the conversation as you cannot speak and hear at the same time.


You should also remember to turn off your call waiting facility whilst on your conference call . This prevents irritating beeps from being heard by other participants which are often blamed for breaking others concentration. It also distracts you from what you're trying to achieve on the call as it interrupts your train of thought.
When you are joining a call from a room with multiple participants, utilize a polyphone or other technology that allows everyone to hear and participate. No matter how many participants are on your end of the line, put your phone on mute when you are not speaking in the meeting to avoid unnecessary distractions and background noise.
The global nature of many modern organizations makes the use of conference calls instead of face-to-face meetings standard procedure for communication. Voice calls are often used for purely practical reasons, such as trying to save on time and money by keeping staff in the office or at home rather than traveling to meetings.
If your role includes dealing with international clients who you cannot easily and speedily meet face-to-face, then conference calls provide you with an efficient and focused means of communication and making decisions.
Successful conference calls

As the underlying technology improves, many of the technical problems associated with conference calls are becoming less common. However, the intrinsic limitations of the medium mean that most people still find it an uncomfortable way to communicate compared to a face-to-face meeting.
In order to overcome these limitations, every organization that uses conference calling should have a set of published guidelines that cover both the technical aspects and the accepted etiquette of conference calls. If your organization does not have such a thing then you should think about producing something yourself, even if it is only for use within your own project.
Preparation is the key to how successful your conference calls will be. The better you plan for the call by setting an agenda, providing a list of other participants and their roles and organizations as well as sending out any background information, the better everyone involved can prepare. This enables each person to have the notes required and their own comments to hand when that agenda item is being discussed.

You may also be interested in: An Introduction to Conference Calls , Types of Conference Call , Technical Issues Affecting Conference Calls , Human Factor Issues , Maintaining Your Productivity , Adapting Your Communication Style , Advance Planning , Controlling the Call and Conference Call Etiquette .


Key Points

  • As the underlying technology improves, many of the technical problems associated with conference calls are becoming less common.
  • However, the intrinsic limitations of the medium mean that most people still find it an uncomfortable way to communicate compared to a face-to-face meeting.
  • In order to overcome these limitations, every organization that uses conference calling should have a set of published guidelines that cover both the technical aspects and the accepted etiquette of conference calls.

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