Keep Conference Calls On Target With The Hash Key

Keep Conference Calls On Target With The Hash Key

We’ve all been on a long conference call that veers off topic. Try using the # key on your phone to signal it’s time to get back on track.

Photo by Bill Bradford

Keeping the conference call focused helps the call end quickly. Entrepreneur has a handy tip to keep on topic:

Establish a ground rule that anyone on the call should hit the # sign when they think the discussion has veered off topic or has gone on too long. This works wonderfully, because no one knows who hit the # sign, but it serves as a great way to reign in the conversation and avoid rambling discussion.

Don’t try the # during a call without verifying your conference system’s functionality, since some keys trigger special commands during a call. Be sure to use one that doesn’t serve another function.

Hit the link for other tips to make conference calls more productive.

How to Make Your Conference Calls Run Flawlessly [Entrepreneur]


  • That is possibly the most childish office tip I have ever heard. If I was on a conference call when someone suggested this, my opinion of them would drop very quickly – let alone if they then used it in the call (honestly who else would it be other than the fool who suggested it?)!

  • “What was that noise? Did someone just join the call? Hello?… No? … Anyway… then I got an icecream and it turned out there was coffee in the double chocolate…”

  • If the area/regional/state manager or whoever wants to go off topic no smart underling would stop them, the only person who should use this is the senior manage themselves, or someone above them on the call.

    The only reason a higher up would need to use the key instead of saying “Let’s move on” is that it can be hard to get a word in when someone is on a roll. The senior manager should be able to stop themselves but that can be a bit hard so this would be good for self control, but no one else should be stopping a senior manager speaking.

  • As a person who regularly attends conference calls of up to 40 people from all over teh world… “Hello, who just joined?”.

    The best way to keep a conference call on track is not to do such stupid, childish, unprofessional tricks – it’s to assign a meeting convener and let them drive the call.

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