5 Things You Should Never Do on a Conference Call

Proper etiquette is crucial in all walks of life, but there’s no place where good manners are more important than on a conference call.  Conference calls present participants with a field of awkward landmines which can detonate with the slightest misstep and destroy the meeting.

If you’ve ever had a bad conference call experience, you know how easily the ruffling of a bag of chips or an errant side conversation between meeting participants can derail the focus of the call.

It only takes one small gaffe to disrupt a conference call. The good news, though, is that it’s relatively easy to avoid those dreaded conference call faux pas. To ensure that your conference call game is top notch, check out these 5 things you should never do on a conference call.


You might think you excel at splitting your attention in multiple directions. But if you think you can pay attention to a conference call while answering emails and reading CNN’s top stories, you’re wrong. According to a multitasking study performed at Stanford University,  multitasking not only kills your performance but it can even lower your IQ.

According to Stanford researchers, “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.” Additionally, participants involved who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced “declines in IQ similar to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night.”

If you’re in a meeting, be in the meeting mentally. Your colleagues – and your sense of professional pride–will thank you.

Chew, Smack or Snack

There is a time and a place for smacking your lips and licking your fingers, and that’s when you’re digging into a full rack of ribs at your local BBQ joint. That time is definitely not during a conference call. Save your snacking for after the meeting, and if you simply can’t resist, be sure to mute yourself whilst you indulge.

Forget About the Beauty of Mute

Though it can be easy to forget, being mindful of mute is the conference call pro’s best asset. Be cognizant of when you should mute yourself to avoid distraction, and don’t forget to unmute yourself when it’s time to talk.

Wear Noisy Jewelry

I understand the need to look fabulous at work, I do. But when your chandelier earrings or stack of rose gold bangles is jingling like Santa’s sleigh during your conference call, it’s time to de-accessorize (especially for those of us who like to talk with our hands).

Subject Your Colleagues to the Noisy Din of the Airport

The beauty of good conference call software is that you can take a meeting from virtually anywhere. However, that doesn’t mean you should take a conference call from anywhere if you can avoid it. Conferencing calling from a loud place makes everyone’s life more difficult: the caller because they can barely hear their team members and their team members, because they can hear the caller FAR too well.

Conference calls don’t have to be a disaster and with the proper tips, conference calling can be a productive, efficient asset to your team.

Chelsea Mize, Collaborative Exchange

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