Scary Conference CallsMonster Challenge – Awkward timing, alien sounds, and mystery guests – you’ve been there – monsters sabotaging conference calls. The “monsters” win by negatively impacting the meeting’s efficiency and productivity.

Monster Taming Tips:

  1. Confirm your phone system is fully functioning BEFORE you dial in – it’s so unprofessional to have a dropped call, or hold up the call while you try to figure out the logistics.
  2. Be prepared to be present. Everyone has a lot to do, don’t be tempted to try and multi-task.  Stay focused on why you are in the meeting and on the call.
  3. The call organizer should provide a list of participants, along with time, date, and call in information; usually through a calendar invitation. If you don’t receive this information, ask for it in advance so you can properly prepare.
  4. Before the meeting discussions begin, the organizer should run through the list of anticipated participants and confirm who is on the call. If the organizer skips this step, it would be helpful to all for you to ask if participants can do brief introductions.
  5. Many call options allow for video, as well as audio connections. It’s helpful to utilize video options in order to allow for observations of body language. Be “video-ready” by dressing appropriately for the meeting and participating from an “office-like” environment. Avoid causing distractions to others as they wonder what is going on behind you.
  6. Be transparent about possible disruptions – obviously you want to be in a quiet place, but sometimes that not always possible. Apologize and explain where the noise may come from and MUTE your phone when you aren’t speaking.
  7. Remember to speak a little slower than usual so everyone can process what they are hearing, especially if video is not available. Also speak loudly and clearly.  Make sure you’re not holding your phone so close you sound muffled, or sitting so far from the speaker that you sound like you are on the other side of the planet.
  8. Be aware of pauses and “dead air” time, and be courteous to explain to others why there is silence. Let others know why there is silence so they’re not wondering if you are having technical difficulties.
  9. Don’t dominate the meeting with a conversation that doesn’t involve the entire group. Acknowledge the need for a separate call and make it an action item to get a call scheduled.
  10. Before disconnecting there are two critical actions to take:

a.  Confirm everyone is on the same page by reviewing what was achieved during the meeting and specific action items to be taken.

b.  Say good-bye. You wouldn’t just walk out of a meeting without a formal good-bye; it’s the same with a call.  Be respectful and grateful for everyone’s time and attention.