Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Conference Calls

The economy being what it is, there's not a lot of money in most organizations for discretionary travel. There was a time when I was off on some business trip or another at least once a month ... one year, I was working a project for which I traveled so often to Colorado Springs that I got a Christmas card from the manager of the Holiday Inn where I always stayed.

But that was then, and this is now. Unless you're the CEO of a major corporation or a member of Congress whose travel is paid for by the CEOs of major corporations, you figure out ways to get things done without traveling. The main way this is done nowadays is by videoconferencing or audio conference calls.

Videoconferencing is nice because you can see the people at the other end, and you can get the feeling - almost - that you're in the same room dealing with them. The downside is, of course, that they can see you, too. It can be embarrassing to fall asleep while the camera is on you, or to see on screen that the notes you're taking are actually on a crossword or sudoku puzzle.

Conference calls are better. No one can see you on screen, so if you're participating from home, you can do so in your pajamas (or less) and no one is the wiser. There's no camera (which can often be controlled by the people at the far end) to see what you're really doing while you're on the call with the mute button pressed.

And what are you doing? According to this article in the Harvard Business Review, these are the top things people are really doing while they're on a conference call*:

I'm usually doing other work**. So, what do you do during conference calls, Dear Readers? Leave a comment and let me know. Or we can always discuss it on a Skype or FaceTime call. Just be fully clothed when you call in, if you don't mind.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* If you add up the percentages, it comes to 378%. There must be a lot of people on that call.

** I almost said, "doing number one or number two," but thought better of it.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

Ewww! The idea of someone relieving himself while participating in a conference is soooo gross!

Lisa Rosenbusch said...

We have most company meetings by 'webinar' these days, where you log into the event on your computer to watch a powerpoint and call in to participate in conference call discussion. We (peons) discovered early on in the process that they (management hosting the event) could tell from an icon if we switched from the event screen. So...if you are going to get something else done, it just can't be on the computer. I was texting with one of my counterparts during a long session this week; she also works out of her home and was cleaning her chandelier!!

Bilbo said...

We do a lot of those "webinar" type meetings, too. I don't like them, but usually don't get a vote. An important thing to remember when participating in a computer-based conference is to put something over the camera that's probably built into your monitor, because other people can control it without your knowledge, and if you're wearing your pajamas or doing something else, you can easily get busted!

Anonymous said...

Here's an example of what not to do during those videoconferences:


Linda Kay said...

Well, thankfully I am not working either online or in a corporate environment anymore. We did have video conferencing, and I taught online courses for a number of years. Also, note that when you are talking on a phone to someone, you can hear the clicking of the computer, if they are also online. Communication is a different world than it once was. I guess we just have to figure it out!

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I used to read emails, run to the john, do other work. Generally most anything that wasn't 100% focused on the dull call.

Mike said...

I used to have to call meetings and then I would forget to go to my own meeting.