Have you seen this hilarious take on what a conference call is really like?
We have all been in this situation or caused one of these blunders, but how do you have an effective conference call?
1. Be on time!
Even if it means that you have to listen to the cheesy elevator music while waiting for other members to join the conference, you should always be punctual. Just because no one is physically looking at you, being on time is essential.
2. Have a leader and an agenda.
Conference calls can be a huge time suck if no one is leading the charge and making sure everything is covered in a timely manner. Make sure to designate someone as the leader. He/She should create an agenda of topics that need to be discussed and addressed. This person will keep everyone on track.
3. Announce yourself.
It goes without saying, but make sure you let everyone know that you are on the call.
4. Know when to use mute.
Nothing gets accomplished if everyone is on mute 100% of the time. Conference calls are for sharing information, especially when you can't meet in person. It's okay to put your phone on mute so you don't cough or breathe loudly in everyone's ear, but make sure you are contributing to the conversation when appropriate.
5. Don't leave the conference call early if at all possible.
Is there anything worse than hearing people leave when you are going over crucial information? Make sure you mind your manners, even though you are miles apart.
6. Follow up with a one-on-one meeting with someone who brought up a good idea or good point.
Conference calls are great for sharing ideas. If you have specific questions about logistics of a specific project that you'd like to implement, follow-up with the person who brought the idea to the table on a one-on-one basis.
Whatever you do, don't be one of the people committing serious conference call mayhem like the people in the video above.