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Today, more meetings are taking place over conference calls than ever before. It’s an easy way to conduct business and can be very effective if all participants use good etiquette and common sense.

Here are a few tips to be sure you’re on top of your conference call etiquette.

Be ready: Call in at least 1-2 minutes ahead of time. I recommend using timeanddate.com to be certain that your time is correct. If it’s the first time you’re dialing into a call, or connecting via the web, I recommend testing the number or web page the day before, or at least an hour prior to the call. That way, you’ll be able to ensure you have the correct login information or can easily access it.

Turn off (or on) your camera: Be aware that some conference websites automatically use your camera. I know one guy who didn’t realize his camera was on and everyone could see him lounging on his bed during the call. (Not a good impression.)

Introduce yourself: When you call in, announce yourself and then mute your phone. Be careful that you don’t accidentally hit the “hold” button, which forces others to listen to background music.

Speak clearly: When possible, always take your phone off speaker when it’s your turn to talk. Don’t ramble or talk too quickly.

Be prepared: This is true for any meeting. Be prepared and ready to share information that is valuable to the group. If it’s something that involves only one other person on the call, take it to a private call or email. It is a waste of others’ time. Do not do it just to show that “you’re busy” to others on the call.

Conducting or participating on a conference call is an important time to remember that, even if others can’t see you, how you conduct yourself reflects on your professionalism, and your business. 

Suzanne Willis is the founder of Willis Consulting & Communications in Naples, which specializes in contemporary business, social and children’s etiquette. 

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