Conference calls are a terrific organizing tool, able to bring together mountain bikers from all over the country and beyond to strategize and share ideas. With more policy and advocacy work accomplished in this team-based framework, the time may be right for a friendly refresher on conference call etiquette. Whether you've never had the joy or you just want to make sure you're on top of your game, this list is a quick reminder on how to put your best foot forward.
IMBA utilizes freeconferencecall.com to conduct its calls. Long distance charges apply, but there is no cost for the service.
- Keep background noise muted. Unfortunately, background noise is all too easily transmitted over phone lines. Fido comes through crystal clear as do many other noises. If your phone doesn't have a mute button, you can press #6 to mute and un-mute your phone.
- Hello, my name is... Since we're often not familiar with everyone's voices, make sure that every time you speak to state your name and organization/state. This is especially important when lots of people are on the call.
- Mmm hmm. Really? Only the seriously twisted truly enjoy long conference calls. One way to cut down on excess time is to stick to the agenda and avoid preaching to the choir about bikes and bike access.
- Don't hog the mike! This is another good way to cut down on excess call time. Keep your comments brief - one or two minutes tops. Let others have a chance to talk.
- Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. This is an obscure reference to the quintessential Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase comedy flick "Spies Like Us," but the take-home message is to remember not to repeat something that's already been said.
- Did you watch Monday Night Football? Believe us, these things are important, but it's probably best to hold off on side conversations with one or two people until after the formal call is finished. If the issue pertains to just a couple callers, talk after the call.
- Be on time or early. If you know you'll be late, try to let someone know in advance. Otherwise, the entire call will be waiting for you or will be distracted when the bell rings to announce your arrival.