Conference calls facilitate business communication and when supported by conference call transcription allow organizations to maintain detailed records of the meetings for reference. However, even with the increasing use of this powerful communication tool, users tend to make some mistakes which can put off the person at the other end. This can affect business relationships and cost money. Here are the common errors that you need to avoid when making a conference call:
- Not being well-prepared for the meeting: One of the biggest mistakes is not being prepared for your phone meeting. Many people set up conference calls without having a proper agenda. You can’t accomplish much without having a plan and you would end up wasting your time and that of all the other participants. So prepare the agenda and topics ahead of the call and send an outline to everybody. This will ensure a sens of purpose and maximize productivity.
- Not setting the rules: It could happen that if you don’t set some rules, people will end up behaving unprofessionally. Undesirable behavior during a conference call includes interrupting others, eating while speaking, and arriving late. Set some ground rules in advance to articulate a set of expected behaviors.
- Not being ready to take notes: Just like any other meeting, conference calls would require note taking in order to keep track of what is being said as well as maintaining a record of the whole meeting. Not having a notepad at hand is a sign of bad etiquette if the caller wants you to take down something important.. Reader’s Digest quotes Monster.com career expert Vicki Salemi as saying, “Taking notes is incredibly helpful as it gives you something to refer back to and follow up with questions you may have on your mind”.
- Not turning off notification sounds on your phone: It can be very annoying and distracting if the caller on the other end can hear beeps and Slack, Facebook, Twitter signals or notifications on your phone. So if you are making the call on your cell, be sure to turn off these distractions. Not doing so will give the impression that you are not paying attention when you’re over the phone.
- Not pausing to check in for understanding: Pausing to check in if your message has been understood is an important communication skill when speaking on the phone. Unlike a face-to-face meeting where visual signs would tell all, there is no way of knowing if the person you are speaking to on the phone has understood the communication.
- You’re not really listening: If you are not listening, you’re probably missing out on the most important parts of the conversation. Not being attentive can be very embarrassing if you are called to speak when you are on the conference call and you don’t know what’s happening. It will show you are not interested in your work, which can affect your career and relationships.
- Not eliminating disturbances: It won’t do if background noise disturbs your call. So make sure the place is quiet. If you are in your office, put a Do Not Disturb sign on your door. Disruptions are unprofessional and will affect the whole call and diminish your experience. Use the muting capabilities of your conference service to eliminate background noises.
- Not using good equipment: It’s crucial to use the best equipment as conference calls are all about audio. Good equipment will ensure clarity. If you are making the call on a cell phone, make sure the headset is plugged in with a microphone. If your speaker phone had built in microphones, test them before use.
- Not following the rules of speakerphone etiquette: Not asking the person on the other end if he or she minds being put of the speakerphone is bad manners. Ask them about this and tell them who else can hear what they are saying.
- Not recording the call: Turn on the call-recording feature of the conference call you are hosting. An audio transcription service provider can convert the recording into text format so that you have a permanent record of everything that was said. The notes can be sent to all the participants and also to those who could not attend the meeting.
Preparing well and using the right tools can help you handle conference calls in a professional way and avoid these mistakes. Once the meeting and Q&A session is over, wrap up the call efficiently by providing attendees with follow-up information. Ask for feedback so that you can improve on your conference call sessions and maximize outcomes.