Using an automated teleconferencing bridge may be a new experience for some people. I've found the following instructions and tips work well:
1. Contrary to what the automated voice tells you, DON'T speak your name upon entering the call, because you may be interrupting a conversation. WAIT for an opening in the discussion, and then let the others know that you're on the line at an appropriate time.
2. Do not use your speakerphone. That "hollowed out" sound quality is annoying and distracting to most people, and may cause noise or an echo on the call, affecting the sound quality as well as others' ability to hear and understand.
3. If you have a two-line phone or other phones/fax lines in your room/office, TURN OFF all ringers before calling in.
4. Don't breathe heavily or noisily into the mouthpiece. While it may be comical to you, it is disruptive at best and keeps others from hearing the conversation at worst.
5. If you're using a headset, make sure it's close enough to your mouth so everyone can hear you, but not so close that your voice is distorted.
6. Don't three-way call into the bridge. Someone won't be able to hear, and if you're in luck that will be someone on your three-way call, but if not, it will be others on the conference line.
7. If you are in an environment that has a lot of background noise, mute your phone when you are not speaking so that the sounds will not disrupt the call. Even though YOU can hear over that sound, your background noise becomes amplified on a bridge call, and it can prevent others from hearing the conversation. DO NOT place your hand over the mouthpiece to mute the sound; it will only cause even more distortion.
8. When entering the conversation, first introduce yourself, then continue with your comments. Don't assume that everyone on the call can hear you well enough to identify you only by your voice.
9. Do not interrupt or make comments while another person is speaking. Allow each speaker to finish his or her comments before you jump in, and refrain from "cross talk" during the call.
10. Put dogs and children in another room. Turn off the radio, stereo or television. Background noise might be normal for you, but it is interference to others on the call.
11. Turn off your call waiting before calling in by dialing *70 before dialing the conference line.
*This is a slightly edited version of the Coach U Teleconference Tips document.