I’m sure you’ve all been in endless meetings or conference calls where you thought “this is a waste of time.” However, when done properly, the humble phone is one of the single most effective pieces of equipment in the project management tool box. Before you spend any more time or money learning how to use Microsoft Project or other complex software, ask yourself if you are neglecting your telephone skills. It’s easy to assume that project management problems can be solved with better technology. In reality, long term project management success largely depends on successfully interact with people.

How To Do Conference Calls Better in 4 Steps

Poor conference call etiquette is an ongoing problem for many in the project management field. Follow these tips and you will soon stand up from others who never learned their way around a conference call.

1. Read The Agenda: Reading the agenda for the conference call ahead of time means no surprises when the project manager asks you questions. What if you didn’t receive an agenda? Simply email the organizer the day before the call and ask what they are expecting from you.

2. Read The Conference Call Invitation List: Even if you’re the organizer of the conference call, your meeting invitation can get forwarded to other people. Take a few minutes before the call to read the invitation list: if your manager or the project sponsor decides to attend the call at the last minute, you better know that information ahead of time.

3. Take The Call In A Quiet Area: If your regular work are is loud, then take the call in a meeting room. This tip is especially important if you are the only member of the project team who is calling in from a different location.

4. Join the Conference Call Early: If the call is scheduled to start at 11am, aim to log into the call by 10:57. This gives you some extra breathing room in case you experience technical problems with the conference system.

If you are the organizer of the meeting, your project members will expect more from you. In that case, I suggest you follow all four steps.

Bio: Bruce Harpham is the author of Project Management Hacks (http://www.projectmanagementhacks.com), a resource that provides ideas you can use in the office tomorrow.

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