Clients calls, webinars, team meetings, staff meetings, one-on-one's with a coworker, prospect meetings - we're spending a lot more time on the phone and using shared screens!
How you portray yourself over the phone and on shared-screen calls represents both you and your company. It’s important that we present ourselves just as well virtually as we do in-person. In an effort to improve your phone etiquette and ensure the person on the other end receives an excellent experience, implement the best practices outlined below.
Pay Attention to Timing
- If it’s a conference call and you are a participant, join the call 2 minutes early.
- If it’s a conference call and you are leading it, join the call 3-5 minutes early.
- If it’s a shared-screen meeting and you are a participant, join 3-5 minutes early.
- If it’s a shared-screen meeting and you are running it, join at least 5 minutes early (more info on this to come!
Avoid Noise and Distractions
- If you are a heavy breather, mute your phone.
- Lower the volume on your computer and cell phone, so the “dings” are not a distraction.
- Refrain from typing on your keyboard during a call – especially if you are using computer audio or the phone speaker. While it seems quiet to you, others can hear you, and it’s distracting. Even though you may be taking notes, it often sounds like you are responding to email and not engaged, so if you need to take notes, mute your phone.
- Watch unconscious audial ticks like clearing your throat or sniffing incessantly. Some of these things are habits you may not realize you have developed, and they can be very distracting for others.
- If you are on an internal call, pets are welcome! If it is a client call, make an effort to keep your pets out of the room or quiet during the call. Best practice is to keep dog treats at your desk.
- Cell phones amplify some background noises like running water and suitcase wheels clicking. Try to eliminate those when possible and mute when necessary.
- Avoid checking email while on a call. The person you are talking to is seeking value from your call.
Don't Make Rookie Moves
- Don’t forget to mute your phone during a conference call and accidentally have a conversation with someone else.
- Don’t forget to unmute your phone before you speak on the call. Everyone will think you were dropped from the call and you will waste lots of good information that no one will hear!
- There are things you can do in-person that don’t work well on a call like nodding and saying “umm hmm” as a way of agreeing with people. That can be very distracting.
- Don’t over mute! If you are on a team call, be a part of the team. Don’t mute and feel like you’re off the hook from participating. Speak up and collaborate just as you would in a live meeting.
Practice Advance Planning
- If you are doing a shared-screen meeting:
- Get on the call 3-5 min in advance. If you have not been on the platform recently, you may be required to download the most current version and you don’t want to be the one that shows up late because of that.
- Test your tech in advance.
- Have what you plan to share already on your screen before anyone joins.
- Close Outlook entirely so meeting participants can’t see your email message pop-ups.
- If you are leading a call with coworkers, discuss your specific roles in advance so it flows seamlessly and there are no surprises.
- If you are using your cell phone, make sure you are somewhere with good cell service.
- If you must do a call from the airport, try to find the quietest place possible and apologize in advance at the beginning of the call. The food court or average gate has much more background noise than most realize.
Bypass the Unpleasant
- Don’t go to the bathroom during a call. You may not think people can tell you are in a bathroom – but they can.
- Don’t eat while you are on the phone – or at least mute.
Use these tips outlined to solidify your caller experience and start getting more out of your phone calls. While it may seem trivial, details such as these on every phone, and shared-screen call, matters! Without giving proper attention to the way you speak and present yourself to the other person on the end of the line, you could miss out on the potential revenue, vital information, and much more.