Leawood Chamber of Commerce issued the following announcement on March 18.

A lot of us are not used to regularly participating in larger conference calls, so we wanted to share a few tips and tricks we found to be helpful:

The Chamber uses GoToMeeting for our conferencing service. If you are going to join a call using your computer’s microphone and speakers, you’ll need to download the app. Allow 5-10 minutes in advance of the meeting to download and install that the first time you join one of our meetings.

Etiquette on Conference Calls Matters

A conference call is like running slightly uphill. You can still get where you’re going, you just have to put in a little bit more effort to get there.

“We’re losing over half of our communications skills when we’re not in person,” says Kerri Garbis, President & Co-Founder of Ovation Communication. The interest we show with eye contact, the sympathy we display with head nods and smiles, the emphasis we add with our hands—we don’t have them on conference calls.

Good etiquette is how we compensate. Following these rules takes practice—but they get you to the finish line faster.

1) Have Good Body Language

Even though you can’t be seen, your body language comes through when you speak. “You can hear a smile,” says Booher. The lack of visuals on a conference call means that your voice must communicate what your body normally would. Positive body language will help.

2) Be Sure Your Connection Is Strong

A poor connection can cause two problems—it can create feedback that disrupts other people on the call, and it can make you more difficult to hear. Don’t call in from a highway rest stop with dodgy cellular coverage. Make sure you’re somewhere you know has a reliable wireless internet or strong cellular connection—ideally, your home or office.

3) Identify Yourself Whenever You Speak

Identify yourself before speaking. You don’t need to make a big entrance. Keep it simple: “This is Joanne speaking, and in my opinion…” “It feels weird to introduce yourself at first, but practice,” says Garbis. “If you don’t, people on the call aren’t listening to what you’re saying, they’re trying to figure out who you are.” If someone doesn’t identify themselves, don’t interrupt them. Wait until they are finished speaking and then politely ask them to say their name.

4) If You’re Late, Don’t Announce Yourself

When you join a call late, it’s a disruption. The “ding” signifying your presence interrupts whoever is talking. A good conference call moderator knows to move forward with the call when a new person joins, and will ask who has joined at the appropriate time.

5) Use Your Mute Button

One person’s bad connection or background noise can ruin the call for everyone. You don’t always know exactly what the folks on the other end of the call are hearing. So if you aren’t talking, keep yourself on mute. That’s the “mute” button—not the “hold” button.

Original source can be found here.

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