There is nothing more awkward for a dinner guest than having to endure an argument by a feuding host couple. So, just as you wouldn’t want to look over and find your guest pushing a pile of peas around awkwardly on the plate, it is extremely poor conference call etiquette to put a participant in the same boat.
Unfortunately, this type of situation happens quite frequently during a conference call. Whether it is two members of the same team arguing about a new marketing venture or your client airing the company’s dirty laundry, we have all been in situations where we found ourselves asking, “Why is this part of the conference?”
In order to prevent these situations from occurring online, consider the following:
- Make sure your key executives and meeting participants are on the same page about a topic before ever getting on the phone.
- Ask to schedule a follow-up call if the conversation between your team members is getting testy.
- However close you might be to a group of stakeholders, remember that a conference call is not a group therapy session. Never air your dirty laundry or get so into the weeds that you don’t know which way is up.
Consider this: your clients and colleagues need to see a unified, put-together package. It can be extremely frustrating for them to deal with even one person who is contentious or combative during an important conference call. Dealing with two people who cannot agree, however, sends a clear message to whoever has to bear witness that the company in question is not serious enough to work out all points of conflict before sitting down to negotiate.
To avoid these pitfalls, remember to think before you get on the phone. Communicate with your team prior to your conference calls so that you are all on the same page. If you find that you are still at odds by the time a call starts, it is better etiquette to politely request a time change than to send a leaky ship out to sea.
Have you ever experienced a situation like this? It is a cringer, right? Tell us about it!