For those of us with clients in other cities, states or countries, a conference call is a great step in building the relationship when meeting in person is not an option. But first, there are a few key pieces of etiquette that can turn an awkward phone call into smooth sailing!
First, do you really need a conference call?
Could this be taken care of over email? Or does it need to be addressed in person? If not, a conference call can be beneficial because you are often able to get a better sense of someone’s personality and intentions when you can hear their voice.
Create an agenda.
This should be simple and have a logical flow. Build in time for discussion and questions. The agenda should be emailed out to everyone beforehand.
Designate a moderator for the call.
Their job is to make sure everyone has been introduced and give any background necessary. The moderator is also responsible for outlining the agenda and making sure the group stays on task and on time.
Don’t invite unexpected guests to the conference call.
This can be confusing for other attendees given that:
You should keep the group as small as possible.
Although it’s hard when you’re in a group meeting, and you can’t rely on body language, try to refrain from interrupting. It is the moderator’s job to create a window for everyone to speak. And when you do that, please quickly introduce yourself if it is not obvious who is speaking.
To wrap things up, it is once again the moderators role to summarize any action items and follow up items that need to take place at the end of the call. Moderator, please take the lead on this, thank everyone for joining, explain how to ask additional questions off-line and end the call. We're all busy people and a call that is on time and on task is always appreciated by everyone!