Conference Call Etiquette + Why It Matters

Having worked in R\West’s New York office for just over a year now, I’ve learned three very important things about working remotely.

  1. The remote server can be slow and difficult.
  2. Food sounds much more appealing when it’s being left in the Portland kitchen.
  3. The conference call is the Holy Grail.

Pursuing a career in marketing requires one to be familiar with conference calls. They can be great assets when decisions need to be made quickly, while also showing our clients that we are, in fact, alive and well. Many of our R\West clients are based on the west coast, so conference calls are especially important for us on Eastern-Standard time when we can’t meet face-to-face.


Even Mr. President loves conference calls! Source:

Yet, have you ever been on a conference call where people show up late? Or forget they’re on mute? Or share their thoughts at the exact same time? Raise your hand if you’ve ever encountered one of these issues on a conference call. I think we can all agree they are often times frustrating and awkward. (The Conference Call in Real Life video sums it up pretty accurately – take a look if you haven’t seen it.)

Last week, our public relations department flew in from New York and San Francisco to unite in Portland for a PR retreat. Conference call etiquette was among the items we discussed, and our team came up with a laundry list of guidelines to follow to ensure a productive phone call. At R\West, we strive to maintain great client/agency relationships that are often built on a weekly conference call.

A few important rules I took away from retreat are listed below.

  1. Get in the right state of mind prior to a call, and stay positive and fun throughout.

It’s important to maintain a good attitude throughout a conference call, especially when we talk on the phone with our clients so sporadically. Pump yourself up before a call with your Jock Jams playlist (alright, maybe that’s just the New York office…) and keep a cheerful disposition at least until the end of the call.

  1. Keep status efficient.

When we rely on a status document for the flow of a call or meeting, remove items previously discussed or that are too far in advance to begin discussing. Rearrange talking points and bring the most important items to the top. Status format does not have to necessarily stay the same for each call – they’re designed to support, not hinder, your client communication.

  1. Start or end your call by highlighting recent wins.

We secure a lot of great coverage here at R\West and sometimes don’t celebrate our wins enough. Start or finish your conference call on a positive note by highlighting recent accomplishments – whether it’s a fantastic Wall Street Journal clip or successful event. It reminds not only the client, but the PR team also, why we’re so awesome.




Written by: Nicole Farin