Conference Call Etiquette: Are You An Offender?

Research Reveals Most Annoying Behaviour on Conference Calls

Toronto, ON (July 16, 2015) – When joining conference calls, employees should be careful about “phoning it in” if they want to avoid irritating colleagues, new OfficeTeam research suggests. Of the workers surveyed who participate in conference calls almost one-third (28 per cent) said multiple people talking at the same time is the most distracting behaviour, followed by excessive background noise (22 per cent).

Workers were asked, “Which one of the following, if any, is the most distracting or annoying thing when it comes to conference calls?” Their responses:

Multiple people talking at the same time 28%
Excessive background noise 22%
Attendees not paying attention 10%
Attendees putting the call on hold (and prompting hold music) 3%
Attendees thinking they’re talking when they’re on mute 3%
Other 5%
None of these 3%
Don’t participate in conference calls 26%
Total: 100%

“It’s tempting to let your guard down on conference calls because participants can’t see you, but basic meeting rules still apply,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “To get the most out of these discussions, join on time, offer your undivided attention and be respectful of other attendees.”

OfficeTeam identifies five types of conference call etiquette offenders and provides tips to help workers avoid these labels:

  • The Late Arriver disrupts the flow when he or she joins after the call has already kicked off. Have the dial-in details ready a few minutes prior to the start time so you won’t be scrambling at the last moment. If you anticipate being tardy, let the host know.
  • The Noisemaker causes a commotion with loud typing, a barking dog or other sounds that can be heard in the background. Find a quiet location for calls and mute the line when you’re not speaking. Just remember to unmute yourself when you have something to say.
  • The Multitasker is too busy eating, checking email or reading a report to pay attention to the discussion at hand. Put your other work away and eliminate potential distractions so you can actively participate in the conversation.
  • The Tech Transgressor is prone to technology faux pas, whether it’s misusing phone access codes or a headset, or accidentally prompting music by putting the line on hold. Familiarize yourself with conference call systems and equipment before dialing.
  • The Scene-Stealer is known to interrupt or monopolize discussions. Contribute your thoughts, but don’t forget to share the floor. Since there may be audio delays on the phone, wait a beat before speaking to avoid talking over someone.

Conference Call Etiquette

About the Research

The survey of office workers was developed by OfficeTeam and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 400 Canadian workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

About OfficeTeam

OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide. More information, including online job search services and the OfficeTeam Take Note blog, can be found at

SOURCE: OfficeTeam