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Conference Call Etiquette


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Conference Call Etiquette

  1. 1. Conference Call EtiquetteAndy Shuttle – UKI Global Delivery CoE, IBM © 2012 IBM Corporation
  2. 2. Global Business Services Introduction Communicating effectively with a globally-located team is one of the hottest topics we deal with in the Centre of Excellence – especially when it comes to Conference Calls. Here are 11 simple things you can do to help make conference calls with your teams more effective. They also work well with more local team calling in on conference lines too. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch.2 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  3. 3. Global Business Services 1. All conference calls need a leader • Conference calls are always better when there is a clearly identified leader / moderator, someone who can direct responses and ask questions. • Usually the person who sends out the invitations will control the agenda and the guest list, and manage the call. If this is not the case, the call leader should be clearly identified in the invite and agenda • Introductions are key and it’s the leader’s job to keep everyone in the loop.3 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  4. 4. Global Business Services 2. Distribute an agenda in advance of the call • Make sure all call participants know exactly what’s expected of them, and what will be covered and decided during the call to maximize the time available. • Assigning roles ahead of time so people know what agenda points they’re responsible for. • Don’t neglect the tech. – If you’re the call leader, be familiar with the technology — especially if you’re recording the call or using a moderator provided by the call company. • Be mindful of time differences if it is an international call and factor this into the planning stage to ensure people know the correct start times.4 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  5. 5. Global Business Services 3. Send the dial-in number, pass code, and instructions • To make sure everyone has what they need to get on the line, make sure you include any access details: – when you announce the call – when you send out the agenda – and the day of the call5 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  6. 6. Global Business Services 4. Limit or eliminate background noise – as a caller • Newsflash - if you’re not muted, others can hear you eating, burping, tearing paper, and yelling at your kids or pets. • Remember, the mute button is your friend… if you know how to use it properly. – Make sure the mute is REALLY on before you make any off-line comments • Don’t mute the call on hold if you have a background music service, because then everyone else will be subjected to your hold music. • Don’t forget to turn off any computer or cell phone tones that may ring out mid- call.6 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  7. 7. Global Business Services 5. Limit or eliminate background noise – as an on-site participant • The same rules apply for participants in the conference room on the other end. • If you’re whispering amongst yourselves, we can all hear you. • Turn off your mobile or put it on vibrate and don’t answer it until you’re out of the room. • If the conference call is headquartered in a high- traffic area, close the door. • You also shouldn’t tap or bang on the table that’s holding the phone/conference speaker or the phone or speaker itself? – Sliding papers and books around can be heard too.7 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  8. 8. Global Business Services 6. Identify yourself when you’re speaking • Whether there’s one person on the phone or a dozen, everyone on site and conferencing in should say who they are when commenting. • Speakers should err on the side of over- identifying themselves. – If I can’t see you, I have no idea who’s talking – That means that I can’t follow up with you later on questions. – It’s also just good manners.8 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  9. 9. Global Business Services 7. Provide verbal cues • Get comfortable with the fact that you’ll be talking in front of a group without receiving any visual cues or feedback. • It’s not unusual to feel out of your comfort zone on a conference call, but learn to manage your fears. • Learn to use your voice and not your eyes. This is no place to be shy and retiring. If you want a response, ask for it.9 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  10. 10. Global Business Services 8. Speak loudly and clearly • Speakerphones may be handy when it comes to allowing you to take notes, but if the speaker is across the room from where you’re sitting, no one can hear you when you try to comment. • The farther you are away from the conference device, the louder you need to be for others to hear you.10 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  11. 11. Global Business Services 9. If you don’t have anything to add, don’t add anything • When the leader / moderator asks, “Any more comment / questions / problems / whatever?” don’t say a word unless you actually have something meaningful to add to the conversation. • Avoid saying things just to make your presence felt11 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  12. 12. Global Business Services 10. End the call on time • There is no excuse for not sticking to the time you told everyone to allot. • Also, see the previous slide. It will cut the time down. • Use the agenda to keep track of time and manage the call12 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  13. 13. Global Business Services 11. Close with clear next steps • The only thing worse than a never-ending conference call is a never-ending conference call that doesn’t go anywhere when it’s over. • Assuming that you had the call for a specific reason and stated what that reason was and what the call was to accomplish (see point 3), there should be something else happening now that the call is over. • Make sure everyone knows what that is, whether it’s summarizing notes, meeting in smaller groups, or beginning / continuing work on whatever the project may be.13 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  14. 14. Global Business Services Contact Details Andy Shuttle – GD Consultant, Global Delivery Centre of Excellence, IBM UK – – Twitter: @AndyShuttleUK – Facebook: – Blog: © 2012 IBM Corporation