When it comes to holding meetings through a conference call, one would assume the same level of etiquette expected in a physical meeting would be what is expected in a conferencing meeting. The truth is holding meetings through conference calls requires a high level of etiquette because there are different factors that play into how the individuals in the meeting are perceived and understood.
“There is nothing more deceptive than obvious fact.”
When it comes to manners, particularly in business meetings, there are obvious things you should and should not do. Everybody knows they should not speak over others, and they should wait their turn to speak. But there are additional manners beyond the obvious to keep in mind when sitting in on a conference call meeting.
“American slang is very expressive sometimes.”
It is important to keep in mind that without being able to see facial expressions, words can take on a whole new meaning. When participating in a conference call, you should be careful you do not use expressions that may be taken the wrong way as it will be much more difficult to fix. In addition you may not even realize you have offended anyone, considering you are unable to read them, and this could end up being a major problem in the long run.
“To let the brain work without sufficient material is like racing an engine. It racks itself to pieces.”
The last thing you want to do is waste everyone’s time by holding a conference call meeting about nothing. It is important to get right to the point about the subject at hand and to provide everybody with enough information to come to an informed conclusion at the end of the meeting. It is bad manners to waste the time of people who have plenty to do, and you will gain some respect for doing so.
“It is of the first importance not to allow your judgment to be biased by personal qualities.”
Giving everyone in a conference call meeting the same level of respect is extremely important. Assuming certain individuals have nothing worthwhile to add could mean missing out on something important but could also change the way people think about you as well. Decide who has something to contribute to your meeting by listening to what they have to say rather than only listening to who you want to hear.
“Any truth is better than indefinite doubt.”
For conference call meetings to be successful everyone needs to commit to the same level of etiquette and respect. If you as a manager feel someone is not living up to those expectations, you should be honest with that person and discuss the issue. It may be a simple matter of miscommunication about expectations. So why leave the matter hanging in a cloud of doubt?
The idea of conference calling is hardly mysterious and neither are the many uses for it. It is important to approach this useful tool with the idea that everyone will have to master how to use it. Conference call etiquette is a good place to begin.