Come on, admit it. Close your eyes and think about your last conference call and you’ll immediately think of a number of people that turned the last conference into a disaster. There are a lot of different circumstances that call for conference call participation, but it never fails – there are always those one or two people who just make the experience slightly unbearable for the rest of the team.
The person who is always late.
Consistently, this co-worker will join the call five minutes late and demand to be caught up before the call can continue.
The last minute participant.
This person is different than the “late participant”. This participant decides at the last minute they need to join the conference call about something that is out of their scope or they are unfamiliar with. Usually the first ten minutes of the conference are spent bringing this person up to speed.
This person doesn’t speak up on the conference and therefore cannot be heard. It’s either because their voice is very soft or because they are sitting too far away from their phone.
The “if I can just jump in here” co-worker.
This person always has something to add to the conversation, but it’s often at the expense of other participants. They interrupt other attendees on a regular basis and instead of apologizing and remaining quiet until it’s their turn to speak, they continue talking as if it doesn’t matter.
The person who always laughs when his or her leather chair makes a hilariously suggestive noise.
Oh, hahaha, it’s so funny.
The person who thinks “it’s time for a conference call” somehow translates into “time to eat lunch!”
You can always hear this person smacking their lips as they chew or gurgling down their diet soda. If you know you have a conference call during your lunch time, make plans to eat at another time. Inevitably, this person always gets prompted to respond when they have just taken a bite. They will then proceed to speak around it.
The co-worker that works from home in a sea of barking puppies or crying babies.
We’re not sure if they run a day care or pet adoption center in their spare time, but it just always seems like the sound of baby crying or a dog in the background is amplified on a conference call.
The scream talker.
They always think that their phone mic is turned down too low and feel like they need to scream to be heard. Usually, their voice causes echoes and feedback on the conferences.
The “hello? hello?” participant.
This participant always suspects they’ve been disconnected from the conference and must then interrupt the flow of conversation in order to assure they are still joined.
Yes, sometimes we have to travel when it’s time to take a conference call, and there is nothing wrong with that. It just always seems like the other participants end up hearing the boarding announcement or the commuter train departure schedule better than they hear the actual conference call.
The Multitasking Genius.
With their speaker phone on, they proceed to “listen” to the conference while answering emails or getting text messages. The sound notifying them of a new text notification or the gentle and somewhat soothing pounding of the keys on the keyboard play into the conference and give everyone a sense of “nothing is going to get done here”.
The person who uses the hold button on their phone, instead of mute.
When you put a phone on hold in a conference one of three things will happen: silence fills the room and everyone makes the assumption the call has ended, periodic beeps will play into the conference, or some rocking easy listening music is about to interrupt and derail your entire conference call.
Who is the person on your conferences that you always feel like needs to be muted?