A conference call can be slightly more difficult to execute than a typical meeting in a conference room; there are no face-to-face interactions, no visual cues to read, and no way to know who is speaking other than voice recognition. When participating in a conference call, it is therefore necessary to exercise proper conference call etiquette, which involves everything from where one sits when taking the call to how to address other participants on the call. Paying close attention to proper conference call etiquette can help the caller avoid embarrassing missteps and instead help run a smooth, effective meeting.
The organizer of the call should start the meeting on time and with introductions all the way around. Conference call etiquette dictates that each person on the call should be recognized and introduced so all participants are familiar with each other and can hear each other. It may be helpful to e-mail or otherwise circulate a meeting agenda to all participants with the names of everyone on the call. The meeting should start on time. A conference call, in other words, should be run just as professionally as a face-to-face meeting, and the organizers should be just as well-prepared as they would be in person.
Adhering to conference call etiquette regarding background noise is perhaps the most important aspect of the call itself. One should avoid talking on a cell phone, as the reception may cause a clarity problem and pick up on distracting background noises. Each caller should participate in the call from a quiet room with little or no distractions. If taking the call at home, one should make sure he or she will not be interrupted by family members, pets, or other distracting interactions and noises. Such noises can distract all participants and keep the meeting from progressing. Avoid creating unnecessary noises as well, such as tapping a pencil, chewing on food, or moving around in loud chairs.
Since no one on the conference call will see each other, conference call etiquette dictates that each speaker identify themselves before speaking. This avoids confusion among the group of callers and allows each participant to take accurate notes on what was said and by whom. A random voice speaking without identification can be unsettling and confusing for other speakers, and identifying oneself on a conference call is akin to making eye contact during a face to face meeting.