Conference Calls That Have Little Action – Lots of Waiting

Did you know that the average NFL game only has eleven minutes of action? Think about that this weekend when you’re glued to the screen for a couple of hours and ignoring the rest of the world for football. So what happens during the rest of that two hour broadcast? Well, the Wall Street Journal breaks it down like this:

  • 56% of the time is devoted to replays.
  • As much as 75 minutes of air time is devoted to showing players in huddles, standing at the line, or just wandering around between snaps. (Think about how many times you watched someone get a drink of Gatorade last Sunday.)
  • 7% of the time is spent showing the head coach or other coaches looking at their play cards or uttering things into their headset microphones.

The DVR should be renamed to “bypassing the commercials so I can get into bed at a decent time” because after reading that, doesn’t two hours or more seem like a complete waste?

Think about it – we sit through two hours of junk because we like to watch football. So why would we employ time wasting strategies at work and lost some of our precious time? Did you know the first place you can get some time back is on your conference calls? Are your conferences full of action or do you spend your call with a bunch of people saying hello, catching up, or asking if they can be heard?

You can bypass all of that and get straight into the action by employing a few simple strategies.

Start without someone on the conference.

If you scheduled your conference to start at ten in the morning and someone who isn’t essential to the meeting hasn’t arrived, go ahead and start the call. There is no reason why the rest of the users should be held up because one person didn’t arrive on time. The flip side of that is if the person you’re waiting on is the one with all the details – you probably should go ahead and wait.

Turn off your intro notifications.

There is no hard and fast rule that says you have to have the tones and name announcements blurt out during your conference. If you keep these on, what will end up happening will be nothing short of chaos as everyone joins the call. I know that a lot of people like to greet everyone on the conference, and that’s okay, but I suggest turning off any of the announcements and taking a nice, gentle roll call at the beginning.

Mute everyone on the call.

Everyone has a preference in how they set up conference calls and I am no different. I can’t stand noise on a conference call and I’m the first person to suggest to all of my customers that leaving all of their lines open on a call is a disaster waiting to happen. If you place your calls into lecture mode, then you won’t have to worry about everyone trying to catch up with each other when it’s time to start the conference.

Finish quickly.

There is no need for a conference call to keep going if you’re done sharing the information. With operator conferences, we book the lines for an hour, but many times the conferences don’t go as long as expected. The speaker was really efficient, or the participants didn’t have any questions, but either way, these calls don’t keep going when there is nothing to say.

There is no hard and fast rule that states that your conferences must be a specific length of time, so if you’re done with what the conference is for, then disconnect and let everyone get back to work.

Image credit Wikimedia Commons.