Conference Calls, the Good, the Bad, and the Please Do Us All A Favor and Hang Up!

Conference Calls

Written by Terry Matthews-Lombardo

Terry Matthews-Lombardo is an industry veteran meeting planner, trip director, and free-lance writer who’s seen and experienced a lot of challenges – the good, bad, great and ugly – during her professional lifetime spent in this industry. Based in Orlando, FL, she’s been a proud and active member of the GCG Network of planners since 2005. You can read more by Terry on her blog Terry's World Travels.

March 19, 2014

Conference CallsAs most of you know, there are many times when your client requires you to participate in a pre-event conference call, and sometimes these are done in very large groups that can make logistics quite challenging. But regardless of the size, there is some basic etiquette involved with these ‘phone-a-thons’, and we hope you’ll follow along as we review a few simple rules:

1) Once you’ve dialed in and gotten onto ‘the bridge’ where the call is being hosted, pause a moment before you speak. No matter what time is showing on your clock, the call may already have started OR the host may be waiting to take a complete roll call at one time, so don’t just blurt your name out. Wait to hear any activity, and then politely join in as instructed. This is especially true if you are calling in late since most likely the roll call has been done and the actual client may already have begun reviewing details, so please don’t make a fool of yourself by just chiming in and disrupting the call in progress.

2) Waiting is also important in regards to questions and comments. Your host may indicate that they want to hold all questions until the end, or they may invite you to speak up as needed. Either way, just be mindful that there can be a delayed response time in a person’s spoken words verses the actual delivery, sometimes as much as a full second. Don’t talk on top of others, and make sure to be mindful of when it’s appropriate to ‘raise your hand’ with a question. Oh, and always identify yourself when you do speak so that the client or host know who/where/what location is raising the issue or making the comment in case the answer is specific to your venue.

3) TWO VERY IMPORTANT WORDS: Mute/unmute, and please know how to use them both. Barking dogs, crying babies, lawnmowers, doorbells, sleigh bells and other distractions are just not cool. I once was on a call when – and I’m not making this up – someone was in their car in a drive-through and we heard every item they were ordering. Not only was this terribly disrupting and annoying, it [should have been] incredibly humiliating for the guilty party due to the enormous order they were placing and comments going back and forth! And do we even need to add a reminder about toilet flushing??? Yes, apparently we do because that, too, has been heard on many a conference call. Oye.

Finally, don’t risk embarrassing both yourself and possibly GCG on these conference calls by asking questions that have already been answered in your pre-event informational sheets. It’s important to stay on top of every notice sent to you regarding any upcoming program you’ve committed to managing even when you think it’s redundant information. As we all know, in event management it’s the smallest details that can make the biggest difference.

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1 Comment

  1. Wendy Kelk

    This is a great post – there are a lot of factors involved in conference planning, both events and pre-event calls, that can cause problems! Thanks for sharing.


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