Conference Call Etiquette

Miss Manners have yet to write the rules on conference call etiquette. Despite its absence, one should always say “YES” to good manners. Good manners will always be “en vogue” and, many will agree that in the absence of such written rules; the Golden Rule should apply. That is, treat others how you want to be treated.

In our consulting business, we are often on conference calls. I was recently on an educational consulting conference call with a corporate team when I asked one team member to share their view on a controversial topic. The team member was mid-sentence when they pointed to an uncertainty as per a date they stated in their argument and continued to make the case for their objection to the topic in question. We were all listening attentively when another team mate interrupted “yes, you are right, the date is correct” and said team mate continued to answer the question which was not posed to them.

Now; good manners and the basic rule of conversation must prevail. This is a corporate setting, the fact we were all in our prospective spaces (connected remotely via technology) does not mean it is not a “formal” business meeting and that the professional code of conduct is not in effect. There ought to be an established rule for conference calls and it should follow the principles of professional face to face dialogue. For example, respectfully listening to the views of others without cutting in.

If you must absolutely cut in, as per this team mate, it should have been the case where said team mate use good manners, for example, use the appropriate signal – the button which shows them to raise their hand, wait until they are acknowledged then comment “yes, you are right, the date is correct”, close their microphone and allow the speaker to continue.

Contact us today, we can help your HRM craft a policy. These are such delicate matters, it is inevitable that we will err at times however, let us endeavor to be more self-aware in all things business. When in doubt, the Golden Rule applies – treat people how you want to be treated – with respect! Remember, you do not need to attend “finishing school” to appear “polished”.

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