So you have screaming kids, misbehaving pooches and yet another work call to jump on. This is the reality for many employees working from home these days. And with such calls being the primary way to connect with your work crew, work calls are a whole new ballgame. You may be noticing an entire subculture of etiquette emerging for these types of calls.
For one thing, certain phrases pop up often enough to justify your own private game of conference call bingo. While other phrases should never be spoken out loud on a work call.
Here are the top 13 things you should never say while on a call with your colleagues.
1 / 13
“I didn’t really get a chance to look at this before…”
Preparing ahead of a scheduled work call (or any meeting for that matter) is one small thing you can do to make sure it runs smoothly and that the time invested is meaningfully spent. Gather all your materials so you’re ready when it’s time to dial in.
2 / 13
“I know we’re here to talk about this, but I’m going to talk about my cat instead.”
Work calls don’t fully replace in-person meetings, and it’s easier to veer off track if you aren’t mindful of the call’s purpose. Beyond the initial check-ins and hellos, stick to the agenda...If there’s time at the end of a call, then open it up to non-business-related chit chat.
Related: 20 Work-From-Home Mistakes to Avoid.
3 / 13
“Shhhh…Maury is on, and this is going to be a good one…”
Bad television aside, this one highlights your lack of professionalism and valid use of company time. Don’t let yourself get distracted by other non-work activities while at home and on call.
4 / 13
“My S.O. / child is the worst and here’s why…”
While working in tight quarters with family or roommates is bound to bring up frustration, you aren’t earning yourself or your fam any favours by oversharing and venting on a work call in this way.
5 / 13
*Loud chewing noises*
The mute button was created for a reason...If you’re in the middle of a bite, make use of it.
6 / 13
We get it...you’re at home. But just don’t. Retain a measure of decorum and regard for your coworkers. Enough said.
7 / 13
“I don’t know.”
Not only does this not satisfy the question that prompted this response, it offers no future solution either. It’s totally OK to not have all the answers, but you can respond with “I’ll check on that and get back to you.”
Related: How to Survive a Job Layoff in 2020.
8 / 13
“Why am I on this call again?”
Even if the call does not relate to your job function directly, you may still connect with it in some way...If you’re called to add your expertise, but it goes beyond your scope, you can clarify what your position is and who might be better able to contribute.
9 / 13
Rudeness or swearing
Remember that, as with emails, work calls don’t have the added advantage of reading physical cues - something so much of our communication depends on. So even if you’re being sarcastic or joking, keep in mind that it’s likelier your comments will be taken out of context.
10 / 13
Not being mindful of your tone
Similarly, be aware of your tone...Your colleagues and clients will be a lot more aware of what your tone suggests on a call than in person, in absence of other physical and social cues.
11 / 13
Not being mindful of your volume
Don’t be that person...be mindful of where your mic is positioned and avoid audio noise, such as a windy balcony, and other loud distracting sounds, if possible. And if you can, avoid using speakerphone and switch to headphones or a headset instead.
12 / 13
Interrupting or speaking over others
While some awkward interruptions will happen unintentionally (nature of phone communication), allow others to complete their thoughts before jumping in with your insight. Not only does it make the conversation difficult to follow and understand, it also sets a bad example for others to follow.
13 / 13
Getting distracted by other conversations, emails or chats
Focus on your phone conversation, rather than other conversations that may be happening around you, either at home or elsewhere, if you can help it (though we get that kids can be unpredictable little beasties that require immediate intervention)…Give your coworkers your undivided attention so you can get the most out of the time you have on your call.