Sometimes, a conference call simply can’t wait; even if you’re on the road. The rules of etiquette for conference calls are generally the same, whether you’re in an office or on the road, so we’ve put together this list of five tips for attending conference calls when traveling. From designating the proper time for a call to having a good connection, these tips will help you have better conference calls no matter where you are.
- Designate Time for the Call
Traveling can be quite exhausting, especially if you’re driving. That’s not to say that plane travel isn’t also taxing on the body and mind, but driving on open highways for hours at a time just does something to the body! That being said, it’s important to designate the correct amount of time for a conference call when you’re on the road.
Participating in a conference call immediately after a six-hour drive is probably a good way to put yourself to sleep, so you’ll want to be sure your travel plans match up with the call’s schedule. Don’t forget to check the difference in time zones to ensure you don’t show up at the wrong time!
If you’re driving, a Bluetooth headset will allow you to connect to the call without having to stop; making the trip much more efficient. If you plan on connecting via the web, stop at a restaurant or coffee shop (or even a library) and utilize the free WiFi there to complete your call. Audio conferencing usually requires less data than a video call, and you shouldn’t video call when driving!
- Minimize Your Background Noise
Whether you’re driving, at the airport, or just hanging around the hotel room, it’s a good idea to minimize your background noise as much as possible during the conference call. Background noise is not only distracting but can also become quite annoying over time (try having a conference call with construction work in the background).
Finding the mute button when you’re not speaking is a good way to minimize your noise, as is finding a nice quiet place to participate in the phone call. A hotel room (without the TV on) should be quiet enough, and even a car with the windows up on the highway should be quiet enough to minimize background noise.
Minimizing background noise helps everyone focus and shows a level of respect for the other callers; something they’re sure to appreciate!
- Be Courteous
Of course, even if you minimize your background noise, you can still prove to be a distraction if you’re constantly trying to talk over people or interrupt. Conference calls are meant to be helpful and informative, which means everyone should get a good chance to speak on the subject. Wait your turn to speak, don’t interrupt, and don’t try to talk over someone else.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to hold one’s tongue when we hear something we vehemently disagree with, but during a conference call, you must wait for your turn to speak. Chances are, by interrupting, you’re not getting the full purpose or meaning of the statement, and could very well have missed important details!
- Have a Good Internet/Phone Connection
A good connection is crucial to an effective conference call on the road. Most hotels, restaurants, and public places offer free public WiFi, but connections can be spotty and are not always secured with a password. This can open the door to all kinds of online threats, so if you want a stable connection, use your phone as a hotspot or use your hotel’s secure network for your online calls.
Otherwise, just be sure your phone has a good connection before you dial in. If you’re in the middle of the desert on an empty highway, chances are your connection won’t be great! Wait until you get to the next town or rest stop before trying to place your call, and be sure to let the participants know that your connection was bad if you’re late to the conference.
- Let People Know You’re on the Road
Lastly, be sure to let people know you’re on the road so they know what to expect. If you have a bad connection, let everyone know you may cut out and call back later. If you can’t make the conference call due to any reason, be sure to let the organizer know why. It’s always better to inform people ahead of time than to leave them wondering!
Conference calling while traveling holds the same etiquette requirements as local calls. Don’t talk over people, be courteous, have a good connection, and minimize your background noise as much as possible. There’s a reason the mute button was invented; use it! Try to find a quiet place to participate in the call to avoid the noise altogether.