How to conference call correctly

The coronavirus lock down means more of us than ever before are working from home, many for the very first time. This means a growing number of meetings are being held via conference call, but if you’re not used to conference calling, it’s easy to get it all wrong and disrupt the flow of the conversation.

Here are our top 9 tips for proper conference call etiquette…

If you’ve ever been on a conference call where people show up late, forget to mute while they’re eating, or have completely separate conversations to the one going on on the call, you’ll know the importance of good conference call etiquette.

Top 9 tips for proper conference call etiquette

  1. Know the conference call date and time – Make sure everyone knows when your conference call is – you can do this with our free SMS reminder service – and make sure to keep the conference call dial-in number and PIN to hand so you are not scrambling to find it at the last minute.
  2. Call in early – Don’t be late to the call, especially if you know you will have to contribute to the discussion – people are on a strict time limit and may have to leave before it is over if you hold it up from the start.
  3. Use the mute button – If you’re working in a noisy office, a bustling coffee shop, or you’re at home and the dog won’t shut up, use the mute button when you’re not talking to help keep distracting sounds to a minimum.
  4. Introduce yourself before speaking – If there are a lot of people on the call, and most are not in the same room, it helps that you introduce yourself before speaking  so other participants can better understand the context of your comments. If you’re in conference with people from another company, it may also help to  state your role, company, or location after your name.
  5. Be prepared – Prepare for a conference call like you would any other meeting, long silences as you scramble around for notes or try to think on your feet are magnified during a conference call.
  6. Pay attention  There are loads of distractions to hand when you dial in to a conference call – emails in your inbox, coworkers, work piling up on your desk, social media, to name but a few – and just because the other people in the meeting can’t see you, it doesn’t mean you can get lost in these distractions. Don’t be the one who always has to ask the person to repeat their question, because you wasn’t paying attention.
  7. Try to keep a good signal – This can be tough if you’re conducting a call on the move, but try to stay in a place where you have a good phone signal – a bad connection could cause static or make your voice beak up when you speak, or may even drop the line to disrupt the call even more.
  8. Follow the leader – Every conference call should have a clear, defined leader who not only keeps the call on track but sends out the agenda ahead of the call, keeps track of time and sends out any follows ups or invites to additional meetings.
  9. Stick to the agenda – Always provide and, importantly, stick to, an agenda while on the conference call – this is the responsibility of the leader of the call, so if the conversation is straying and they’re not keeping tabs, give them a nudge.

How to get a conference call all wrong

As you can see from the Office Team infographic below, there are a few common annoyances and distractions when it comes to conference calling. That’s why it’s essential to

What's the most annoying behavior on conference calls? According to an OfficeTeam survey of workers, multiple people talking at the same time is the most irritating (37 percent) followed by excessive background noise (24 percent). (PRNewsFoto/OfficeTeam)


  1. Bethel Smith said:

    I think it is important to use etiquette when participating in a conference call such as using the mute button when not speaking to eliminate unnecessary noise. My dad has conference calls on a regular basis and to minimize noise distractions only unmutes when necessary to avoid any overlapping noise. If people used conference call etiquette, it could help eliminate the amount of conference meetings, which could make people’s schedule more flexible.

    February 26, 2016
    • Les Roberts said:

      Hi Bethel,

      Thanks for getting in touch – that’s a very good point you make, a little consideration could cut out all of the necessary to-ing and fro-ing on a conference call, not to mention the awkward silences!

      March 2, 2016
  2. Talking from personal experience, we’ve had international conference calls, and once people learned to get the time right, there was always something: being late to the conference, too much background noise because someone was at a coffee shop or the screen kept freezing. Well these probably apply to smaller conferences but thought I’d share anyway. Thanks

    January 13, 2017

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