Can we all stop doing these five things during conference calls?

We're all guilty of joining a conference call, promptly switching our phones to mute and half-listening to the meeting as we continue to work on other projects. But more than this occasionally absent-minded attendance, there are certain common conference call faux pas that truly drive employees crazy.

It's time to break your bad conference call habits – starting with these five:

1. Failed spontaneity

Without an agenda, we risk sending all attendees into the Wild West without a relevant purpose. While spontaneity can work for brainstorming sessions, everyone should be on the same page about what the conference call intends to accomplish.

2. Unnecessary introductions

We've been working together for months now, which means we don't need to introduce ourselves every time we hop on a call. Sure, we can introduce newbies, but let's respect each other's time, skip the lengthy pleasantries and get to the point.

3. Accidental interruptions

There's nothing like talking over someone to invalidate their point – even if it's not intentional. Even worse are employees who purposefully cut off other attendees, which not only creates an uncomfortable tension for everyone involved but can also lead the conversation down a dark and unproductive tunnel.

4. Awkward pauses

When you aren't physically sitting in the conference room with other attendees, it's easy to avoid participation. We've all been there: The conference call meeting leader asks a question met with dead silence, leaving every attendee praying that someone else will speak up. These awkward pauses also happen when people aren't prepared for the call, or if the organizer failed to provide that oh-so-valuable agenda.

5. Etiquette blunders

There's always that one attendee who joins the call and overwhelms it with distracting background noise. Sure, you can take the call from a coffee shop, but be mindful of the rest of us who are trying to have a conversation without distracting sounds. The same goes for notoriously late joiners. We can only make so much small talk before we give up and start the meeting without you. There's also those who forget to identify themselves before launching into their spiel, leaving the other attendees wondering who is talking rather than focusing on what's actually being said.

We can all avoid these conference call no-nos with web conferencing, which provides tools that make these meetings more engaging and collaborative. Video and screen sharing give participants a reason to pay attention, and the software makes it easy to identify who's participating in the call. Request a live demo to see how web conferencing can nip these annoying conference call habits in the bud.

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Alisa Bartash

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