Conference Call Etiquette
As in any other activity, good preparation always pays off. One way of showing respect to all the participants is to plan well for an audio conference. Organizers of an audio conference should ensure that its preparation checklist includes testing the facility, testing the connection and informing the participants of the details of the activity and contingency plan.
Organizers should test the audio conference facility before the actual activity is held to ensure that the voice reception is clear. This is very important because, in most cases, accompanying written materials are not readily available to the participants. Thus, they have no fallback plan when they do not receive the message from the speaker clearly.
Aside from testing the facility, organizers should also ensure that the connection or call-in capability is well established. Organizers should be wary of the maximum number of participants allowed to connect to the audio conference. Sometimes, participants are not able to access the audio conference because the network has already been flooded and can no longer accommodate any additional participants. Organizers should then ensure that the total number of expected participants have access to the audio conferencing facility.
Have a contingency plan. Organizers should consider actions to be taken in case the audio facilities malfunction. An extra connection line or audio facility should be available as a fallback, should the worst-case scenario arise.
During the meeting, participants are also expected to observe proper etiquette. Voice levels should be audible to all involved. Words should be pronounced clearly and properly. Stray noise such as side comments and ringing cell phones should be avoided. If participants in a certain location need to discuss matters among themselves while in the middle of an audio conference, they should mute their receivers so as not to disturb the rest of the participants.
Observing proper etiquette during an audio conference is one way of increasing the chances of achieving the goals set by the long-distance meeting. By observing the same rules of courtesy that come into play in any traditional meeting, an audio conference can run smoothly and motivate the participants involved.
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