Conference Calling Best Practices U.S. Canada and International

Conference Calling Best Practices

Conference Calling Best Practices
for the Chairperson

Like any meeting, a conference call needs to be planned and managed. In general, the host of the conference call is the call's facilitator and responsible for making sure that the teleconference goes as planned.

This doesn't mean that
participants are off the call's facilitator and responsible for making sure that the teleconference goes as plannedthe hook though. They too must do their part.

Whether you're the chairperson or a participant, use the following set of conference calling best practices to ensure that your time is well spent.

Plan the Conference Call

As the conference call's host, you'll need to plan the call beforehand and actively manage it once it takes place. After the call, you may need to follow up with participants or distribute files related to the call.

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Before the call

  • Create a list of participants. Use a spreadsheet and include the participant's name, phone number, whether participation is mandatory or optional, and any other notes that are helpful to you.

  • Create an agenda. Include the agenda items, time allocations, and any tasks you expect others to perform.

  • Create a list of any pre-conference call tasks that participants need to complete (for example, prepare a report or presentation) as well as any materials participants are expected to have on hand during the call.

  • Issue invitations with the conference call's phone number and access code. Include the agenda and your list of tasks and materials. This ensures that participants understand expectations. Make sure that time differences are clearly addressed. For example, express the time and date of the call in local time for each participant or list the locations along with the correct time and date for the call.

  • Schedule a reminder email. You can do this in your email client or via your conference calling provider's interface if such a feature is offered.

During the call

  • Start the call on time. Waiting for late arrivals costs you money and inconveniences those who arrived on time.
  • Stick to the agenda. If the discussion goes off track, guide it back to the topic at hand. You may want to note the topic and promise the participants that if time allows, it can be discussed at the end of the conference call or scheduled for the next teleconference.

  • End the call on time. Ending the call on time ensures that your conference call doesn't go over budget. It also shows participants that you care about their time. When attendees consistently see that your conference calls start and end on time, they know what to expect during future calls.

Conference Call Best Practices for Teleconference Participants

  • Participants also contribute to a teleconference's success. One of the best conference call best practices is to be aware of how external noises can disrupt the call for others.

  • Call in from a quiet location using a good quality phone.

  • Turn off anything that makes noise including computer speakers, radios, TVs, PDAs, bubbling fountains, and other devices.

  • Call in on time, preferably a minute or two before the teleconference's start time.

  • Before you speak, say your name so that other participants know who is speaking.

  • Use the mute button on your phone when you are not speaking. Make sure to un-mute the call when it's your turn to speak.

  • Never put the conference call on hold, especially if your phone system has a "music on hold" feature. You do not want to interrupt your attendees with your phone systems on-hold music.

  • If other people are present in the room, try not to have separate conversations with other people.

  • Use a noise-canceling headset if you have one or speak into the handset of your phone when it's your turn to speak rather than using a speakerphone.

Following these simple conference calling best practices is easy to do and makes the entire teleconference much more enjoyable for all parties.


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Conference Calling Best Practices