Remember, first and foremost that your conference call is a professional meeting. If you need to excuse yourself to use the bathroom, suggest a bio-break for everyone on the call” just like you would during an in-person meeting. On bigger calls, training calls or any other call that you're just listening without needing to weigh in, mute the phone from the get-go (simply press *6 or use the mute function on your phone). That way, if you need to use the restroom or grab a snack, no one will hear the unpleasant background noise.
Call of Duty
Call facilitators have some responsibility here too. If you're orchestrating a training call that you intend to later use as a podcast, take care to mute your audience until it's time for team participation. Whereas, if you're organizing a call that rotates through multiple speakers, ask everyone who is dialed in to mute their phones using the *6 feature or their feature on their phone. Be sure to formally emcee your call, introducing your speakers as it's their turn to speak; this way they know it's time to take their line of mute and other participants know who's talking. With more advanced conferencing services, like ours, call facilitators can use the online call management system to unmute specific lines. As the call organizer, you're responsible for knowing the ins and outs of your conferencing service. Make sure you know all the tools that are available to you; check it out at www.freeconferencing.com.