Conference Calls
Tips for Multi-way Phone Conversations

(A compilation of various internet write-ups)

Good conference call etiquette starts by treating a teleconference like you would treat any face to face meeting.

  • Be on time
  • Be prepared
  • Pay attention
  • Actively participate in the discussion


The following tips can help make conference calls more pleasant, run smoother and help avoid embarrassment:

Find a quiet, undisturbed room. Background noise will be heard on the call and it can be very distracting to other participants. If you are at home and have small children playing nearby or have a noisy dog, try to find the quietest part of your house. The other participants on the call will appreciate it. If it is not possible to be away from the noise, mute your phone whenever you are not talking. Pressing *6 will mute most phones.

Avoid Using A Cell Phone. Try to avoid calling into a conference call from a cell phone whenever possible. Cell phones add tremendous background noise to a conference call. If a cell phone is your only choice, muting the cell phone is a necessity whenever you are not speaking. Also, make sure you are not driving when you are on you the call.

Be on time for the call. Don’t get on the call late and expect someone to catch you up with what is going on while everyone else waits. It gives them the impression that your time is more important than theirs.

Do Not Use The Hold Button. Do not put the conference call on hold if your phone has hold music or those annoying beeps that sound every few seconds; it is a huge interruption and distraction for everyone else on the call. If you have to leave a conference call for any period of time, hang up the phone and call back in when you are ready to rejoin.

Be Cautious With Cordless Phones. If you are joining a conference call from a cordless phone make sure the phone does not have a lot of static background noise. Usually static background noise starts when you get out of range of the phone base or if you get near another device that interferes with the phone such as small electric appliances and answering machines.

Avoid Shuffling Papers and Other noises. Shuffling paper sounds very loud on the phone. Other small potentially noisy habits to avoid are: continually clearing your throat, tapping your pencil, drumming your fingers on the desk, etc.

Be Aware Of Whether Or Not Your Phone Is On Mute. If you put your phone on mute while on a conference call, and it is always a good idea to do so whenever you are not talking, remember to take it back off mute when you talk. Likewise, remember to put it back on mute when you are finished.

Be Polite. Do not try to talk over another person on the call even if you feel you have a very important point to cover; to do so is in bad taste and could result in everyone else on the call not being able to understand what you or the other person is saying. Be patient; wait until the other person has finished; and then talk.

Announce your name before speaking. Do not assume people recognize your voice. By the same token, do ask for input by using a person’s name.