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10 annoying things that happen on a conference call.

Audio and Video Conferencing

Tips on how to avoid annoyance and improve meeting etiquette

Despite the increase in adoption of video conferencing in the workplace; audio conferencing is still very much the norm in businesses – for now!

Many staff are participating in conference calls daily. With the extended use comes the risk of complacency and poor etiquette. There are ways to mitigate this issue which we will address shortly. However, let’s start with some great examples of poor etiquette and the 10 annoying things that can happen on an audio conference call.

  1. Wow, someone is breathing heavy into the phone. You sound like Darth Vader. Please do us all a favour and put your phone on mute!
  2. Whoever is tapping not-so quietly on the keyboard either pay attention or if you don’t have courtesy to give us your full attention put the damn phone on mute!
  3. Sounds like someone is enjoying their lunch. How about you hit the mute button!
  4. It is grand that you have decided to call in whilst commuting on public transport. How about you go on mute so we don’t have listen to the background noise and what stop you’re approaching.
  5. Hey dummy when you put the call on hold we get stuck with the hold music!
  6. You have called into the wrong conference and it’s not my problem. Don’t ask me what the correct number is because we don’t know.
  7. Hello, you are not on mute. That’s a great side conversation you are having.
  8. Who has dialled in from their mobile and is texting or emailing? Just in case you were unaware, we can all hear!
  9. Flexible working hours and workplaces are great for you. We don’t want to hear your barking dogs and crying baby. Press mute or find a quiet place to call.
  10. Late entry into a meeting. Firstly, it’s frustrating that you are late and we have overused the line “Hello, who just joined us”, secondly, I’m not going to give you a summary of the last 15minutes, you’re late!

Frustrations aside, these issues are both real and avoidable. You can mitigate most of issues by ensuring your staff are educated on how to run a successful conference, and choosing the right technology and service provider.

Educate your staff – the following tips will greatly enhance your next audio conference.

  • Ensure the chair is clear with the introduction and provides a rundown of meeting etiquette. Ask that all participants keep their phones on mute when not talking, keep new topics to the end of the meeting, advise the audience you will be keeping to time and ensure the chair is assertive. It’s important that the chair have the confidence and ability to shut down unnecessary conversations and make recommendations to move side conversations off line.
  • Audio conferences will not provide participants with the support of body language. You will need to embrace the natural inflection of your voice to successfully communicate.
  • Make sure the audience stays on topic and focuses on decisions. If the chair doesn’t have the ability to keep the audience to task then get a new chair!
  • Consider a cordless headset or handsfree so you can stand and walk around whilst speaking. Sometimes, this will help you to focus on the conversation at hand and avoid distractions at your desk such as email or instant message.
  • When the meeting is finished it’s finished. You do not need to run for the full allotted time. The audience would rather an efficient meeting that gives them time in the day back, rather than talking to fill out the allotted time.
  • Stay on topic and avoid getting side-tracked. There is nothing more frustrating when someone hijacks a meeting and ‘goes off the reservation’. It is the chairs responsibility to bring the participants back to the agenda and the agreed topics.
  • Texting, eating, or Tweeting. General rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t do it in a face-to-face meeting, don’t do it in an online meeting. Whether you get an important text, are feeling a little hungry, or are bored with the course of the meeting, your distance from your team members isn’t an excuse to neglect normal meeting protocol. Before picking up your phone or heading to the kitchen to microwave lunch, ask yourself whether you’d consider doing the same thing in the conference room with your boss.

Choosing the right technology and service provider – ensure you have the right tools for your next audio conference.

There are a couple of tools that can help you have a successful audio conference: a great microphone and a quality audio conferencing solution. Sound quality is imperative to successful audio conferencing, and it’s better to be focusing on what the person is saying instead of trying to hear what’s been said. These tools will guarantee success.

Conference calls don’t have to be agonizing. Want a quality audio conferencing solution that will make your conference calls even better?

Trends in Global Audio Conferencing Endpoints Market Growth of collaborative spaces across corporate offices around the world (boardroom, medium-size room, multipurpose room or huddle room) drives the growth of A/V technologies such as audio conferencing endpoints. Massive availability of collaborative services has resulted in a significant expansion of the number of meetings that are being held per company and the number of people attending each meeting, leading to an increase in audio and video conference endpoint sales”.

Apple devices using audio conference software

What about video conferencing? 10 annoying things that happen on a video conference call.

Despite the prevalence of audio conferencing, video conferencing is very much taking over and is here to stay! Soon video conferencing will be the norm and audio will be like hanging on to an analogue mobile!  With many staff participating in video conference calls daily and this extended use comes the risk of complacency and poor etiquette. There are ways to mitigate this issue which we will address shortly. However, let’s start with some great examples of poor etiquette and the 10 annoying things that can happen on an video conference call.

  1. Hey Mark, I cannot see you. Can you shift the camera?
  2. Hi there, my camera isn’t working can you dial me in on the landline?
  3. Excellent, we have auto dialled into an empty room and I can see people walking past the room and looking in.
  4. OMG what were they thinking when they decided to wear that top? Video and that top do not work!
  5. Did you see the marketing manager constantly looking at themselves? Maybe, they should flick to only view the participants?
  6. The dreaded call from home with ambient noise. Flexible workforce is great when you don’t hear the next-door neighbour’s dog barking.
  7. That a seriously messy office. Someone might want to suggest that Mark cleans up a corner of his workspace and make sure that what the camera sees is organised and free of clutter.
  8. Hey Mark, you are on camera! Are you enjoying your lunch?
  9. Wow that’s some serious buffering! I think you should revisit your internet connection.
  10. You’re on mute Mark. Yes, the mute dilemma continues into the world of video conferencing.

Educate your staff – the following tips will greatly enhance your next video conference.

  • Ensure you provide appropriate training to all employees. Consider using video conferencing for employee on-boarding as it may assist with reducing stress related to starting a new job.
  • Ongoing training. It is advisable to ensure all employees have regular access to training. With the rapid changes and enhancements in video conferencing there is a genuine risk that existing staff will quickly fall behind with outdated processes.
  • Ensure there is no ambient noise interference. When you’re hosting a cloud video conference, a place free of ambient sounds is just as important as it is in a physical meeting.
  • Omitting a professional atmosphere. Conference rooms are designed the way they are for a reason: to minimise distractions, facilitate productivity, and keep a gathering on track. A video conference should be no different. No matter where you are, clean up a corner of your workspace and make sure that what the camera sees is organised and free of clutter. Even if your child likes to play on your desk, there’s no need to show that to your team members.
  • Dressing poorly. Just because you’re not having a meeting in person doesn’t mean you can’t look your best. While the members in your online meeting may be hours away, they can still see you. Dress appropriately for your meeting, similar to how you would for an in-person meeting. Don’t wear clothing with tight patterns.
  • Neglecting eye contact. Eye contact over a computer is different than eye contact in a meeting. When you look someone in the face in person, it’s clear what your intentions are. When you look at them in the face over web conference, however, you’re actually looking at their image. In order to maintain the appearance of eye contact, look into your webcam rather than at attendees’ faces. This will give each member of your conference the one-on-one eye contact they deserve.
  • Texting, eating, or Tweeting. General rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t do it in a face-to-face meeting, don’t do it in an online meeting. Whether you get an important text, are feeling a little hungry, or are bored with the course of the meeting, your distance from your team members isn’t an excuse to neglect normal meeting protocol. Before picking up your phone or heading to the kitchen to microwave lunch, ask yourself whether you’d consider doing the same thing in the conference room with your boss.
  • Going in blind. When you hold a meeting in person, you generally prepare for at least an hour or two to make sure things are ready to go. This is also true in online meetings, and the process has one more step: taking care of your technology. Before holding a meeting, make sure your setup is in proper working order, including internet connection and webcam hook-ups. This way, when you get started on your conference, there will be no unwelcome surprises.

What benefit does video conferencing provide?

  • No need to travel –reduce the cost and time associated with travel and being offline. Time is money and travel costs money.
  • Humanises the communication – connect with colleagues and visually engage. Video conferencing changes the body language, conversation and personalises the connection.
  • Learn and teach online – online courses and education are readily available. Video conferencing is a great way to do this within the educational and business framework. Reduce the number of training sessions, trainers and increase flexibility of when learning is offered to participants.
  • Connect with anyone anywhere – connect anywhere anytime. You are no longer restricted to working from a typical ‘desk’. You can experience face-to-face collaboration no matter where you work.
  • Affordable and easy to use – your business will achieve cost savings, productivity increases, and better methods of time management. Furthermore, video conferencing technology is constantly improving and the cost associated with hardware has significantly reduced. Software solutions such as CommuniCloud is an ideal and able to utilise existing infrastructure.
  • Increased productivity – employees from all areas and sites can connect instantly. They can solve problems and workshop from a distance without the downtime of waiting for phone calls or return emails.
  • Employee retention (flexible workforce) – improve staff retention and reduce staff turnover. Provide your staff with flexible work arrangements, greater satisfactions and increase commitment to your business.
  • Competitive advantage – large, medium to small business with limited resources benefit from the reach that video conferencing gives. Video conferencing allows your business to meet more people, access a global supply-chain, collaborate with customers and partners in real-time. Video conferencing will enable your business to utilise technology leverage their competitive advantage.
  • Convincing your audience – visually sharing your latest product and convince your audience by allowing them to see and believe. With video conferencing, you can engage your audience and showcase your work.
  • Environmentally friendly – reduce your carbon footprint with reduced travel and taking cars off the road.

Ditch the 10 annoying habits, educate your staff and ensure in nothing but the best!  That is invest in nothing but the best. As industry influencers, CommuniCloud come out on top for a state-of-the-art video conference. Built for professionals, we make sure to work with the best technology platforms, whether it’s our proprietary InView™ or Primetime technology to seamlessly bring all participants face-to-face. Our service provides you with the power of a flexible, secure, HD video conference through a first class, subscription based “all you can meet” collaboration.

InView™

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Primetime

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