How to Participate on a Conference Call

I have spent a lot of time talking about how to host an effective conference call.  But what should you do if you are a participant?  In order to have a godd conference call it takes a well prepared host and it also takes participants who know how to behave on a conference call.  Here are a few tips if you are a participant on a conference call that will help you get the most out of the conference call.

  • Be On Time – The first thing you can do as a participant is show up for the conference call on time.  When you don’t show up on time you are showing a lack of consideration for the Host and the other participants alike.  Because even if the Host starts the conference call on time wihtout you or not you are causing a delay and/or an interruption to the meeting.  And you have to assume you were invited to the conference call because you are recognized as a valuable contributor to the conference call.  Given that assumption you need to be on time to the meeting and ready to participate.
  • Be Prepared – Hopefully the Host sent out an agenda for the conference call ahead of time.  At the very least you should have an idea of what the conference call is meant to address and you have a responsibility to be prepared for the meeting.  That could mean reviewing related documents or actually being prepared to present during the conference call.
  • Mute Your Phone – This is not always necessary, but all participants should be aware that even if you are being quiet the other people on the conference call can hear you.  Our conference call service equipment produces a very clear audio connection so even just the typing on your computer is easily picked up by the microphone on your phone and is transmitted across the conference call to all participants.  It is always the best idea to simply mute your phone unless you are speaking.  Most phones these days have a mute button and if not the conference call service should have a way to enter a command through the phone to mute your line.
  • Identify Yourself – On a conference call there is no way for the Host or other participants to identify you unless you do it.  The best practice is to state your name when you are going to speak so people know who is spoeaking.
  • Participate – It is easy to get distracted on a conference cll because you are usually at your desk and still have access to computers, papers, etc.  But you were invited to the meeting because your participation was deemed important and if you were in a face to face meeting you would not even consider answering emails while in the meeting.  So on a conference call participate just like you would in a face to face meeting.

If you treat your participation on a conference call just like you would an in person meeting then your conference call participation will be a success.

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