Conference Call Etiquette

When we get on conference calls, we tend to forget about a couple of important things. We know proper table manners but there isn't a training class on proper manners for a conference call.

We know that we should always be on time and be prepared for conference calls. You should treat it like any other face to face meeting and incorporate the kind of things you're used to into your conference call etiquette.



Conducting yourself well on a conference call is just as important as the way you conduct yourself in front of a crowd, and if you fail to have good conference call etiquette, you'll make a bad impression on customers or co-workers. No one wants to present the images of being disrespectful or lacking consideration, but when you can't see other people, it's easy to think you're invisible. Improve your conference call etiquette on your next teleconference by following these easy rules.

Whether you're a moderator or a participant, practicing these rules will help to improve your conference call etiquette.


  • Conference call time is not lunch time. Try not to arrange conference calls during your lunch hour, you never know when your line will be open and everyone will hear you chomping on that cheeseburger.
  • Give the conference call your undivided attention. We all want to get the most out of our time but try to treat a conference call like any other meeting where you would be removed from other distractions.
  • Take conference calls from quiet locations. While you might like working from your local coffee shop, the other shop patrons probably don't want to hear the subject of your conference call. Additionally, people on the conference call won't want to hear the background music of the coffee shop.
  • Assume that your line is never muted. This will avoid any embarrassing locations if you absolutely have to make a conference call while on the go. (Surely everyone has heard a barking dog, a toilet flushing, or a screaming child on a conference call)
  • Take turns speaking. Everyone is on the teleconference for one reason or another and everyone will have something to say or a question to ask, so try to go one at a time.
Before the conference call
  • Provide participants the toll free dial-in number, participant pass code, date, time and expected duration of the call. (Provide international participants the toll dial-in number)
  • Advise participants of the agenda and that the call will begin promptly.
  • Forward any written documents or presentation copies that participants may need ahead of time.
  • Position speakerphone (if used) near key participants. Use best speakerphone equipment available to maximize quality of the sound.
  • The moderator (either you or a designate), should dial-in 5 minutes prior to call as a courtesy—participants will hear music on hold until the moderator joins the call.
During the conference call
  • Hold a roll call to confirm attendance and inform all participants who is on the call.
  • Review the agenda and any meeting ground rules.
  • Advise participants to mute phones when not speaking and to avoid creating background noise such as rustling papers or side conversations. Cellular phones may be disruptive to other participants and it is especially important to mute these phones.
  • Ask participants to please
    • Identify themselves when speaking
    • Address people by name when asking questions
    • Avoid placing phones on hold…any music on hold will disrupt the call
  • Divert side issues not on the main agenda to a sub-conference or schedule a follow-up call.
  • Request operator technical assistance by pressing *O on the phone, as needed.
  • Before closing the conference call, agree to date and time of next call.
  • For additional security, the moderator can end the conference call by disabling all participant lines using the *93 control on the phone.
After the conference call
  • For conference calls that have been recorded, you will be sent a confirmation e-mail with a special dial-in number and pass code to use when playing back the recording.
  • Provide this information to anyone you want to hear the recording, available to replay for 30 days.
  • Order CD(s) of the recorded call, as needed, by calling reservations.