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Bad habits seem to be prevalent in phone conferencing because you aren’t face to face with the other individuals. Showing up late, holding side conversations with others in the room and forgetting to put your phone on mute are all common mistakes that could happen on a conference call. While most people are familiar with proper etiquette in situations, such as eating dinner or even attending a business meeting in person, where is the etiquette for audio conferencing? Before you go and schedule a conference call, here are some tips to ensure that it runs smoothly...

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1. Designate One Person to Lead the Call

The person you designate to moderate the conference call will ensure the meeting stays on track. Business professionals run busy lives so time is of the essence. It is important to keep the meeting within the designated time constraints to avoid conflicts with anyone’s schedule. This is especially important when there are a large number of people on the call. If everyone wants to talk, the call can easily run too long.

2. Early is always better

Running late happens, but do your best to not be late for any phone conferencing appointments. It is always best to arrive about five to 10 minutes early so you can become comfortable with the audio conferencing software. This also allows the meeting to start on time and avoids the distraction of late entrants.

3. Introduce Yourself

Don’t assume that everyone knows who you are by your voice. You should introduce yourself before you begin speaking so all attendees know who is speaking at any given time. In addition to identifying yourself as the speaker, this process also avoids interruptions.

4. Distribute a Clear Agenda Before the Meeting

If you are the phone conferencing organizer, put together a clear agenda for the meeting and make sure everyone receives a copy. Once the conference call begins, follow that agenda as closely as possible to keep yourself within time constraints. When other people will be presenting, make sure you delegate their roles ahead of time so all speakers can be fully prepared.

5. Reduce Background Noise

Background noise can be a major distraction during phone conferencing. Audio conferencing best practices tells you to put your microphone on mute when you aren’t talking. However, when you need to talk, make sure you eliminate as much background noise before you unmute yourself. Some common types of background noise includes wind, other conversations in the room, noisy pets, active children, even typing on a computer. If possible, find a quiet place from which to attend the meeting.

6. Give the Call Your Full Attention

Attending a meeting from the comfort of your home or office often means plenty of distractions going on around you. You may be tempted to check email, answer a co-worker’s question, and tackle the pile of work growing on your desk or any number of other small tasks. During conference calls, it isn’t uncommon for the speaker to ask an individual attendee an answer. If you aren’t paying attention, it will be obvious. You will have to ask the speaker to repeat the question, which can be embarrassing for you and frustrating for everyone else. Paying attention will avoid these problems.