The 7 Deadly Sins of Conference Calling

The 7 Deadly Sins of Conference Calling


There has been a lot of research done in the past few years trying to determine what people are actually doing during conference calls, and some of the results are shocking. Some of these can be avoided by leaders planning ahead, keeping meetings short and sweet, and checking in ever so often to make sure people are still on board with the subject at hand. But some of these habits can be tackled by the individual participant, and with that, we bring you The Seven Deadly Sins of Conference Calling.


  1. Grabbing a bite

Have you ever actually listened to someone eat? Have you ever really listened to the way your mac-n-cheese sounds? Now imagine hearing that sound over a headset with 50+ people on the call. We might all be able to agree that your colleagues would prefer to not hear that on the other end of the line. I promise, your leftovers will be just as delicious moments after the conference call.


Eating on a conference call


2. Getting your flirt on

According to a 2014 poll 10% of responders admitted to using online dating sites while on conference calls. We were just as shocked as anyone to hear that using online dating sites might, in fact, be wildly inappropriate use of time while on a conference call (can you smell my sarcasm?). Save the dating for after hours, and swipe right to undivided attention.


3. Catching up with mom

Yes, we’ve all experienced the euphoria of our mothers finally figuring out how to use social media and posting embarrassing childhood photos on our wall, but the last time you’d want to be checking your facebook is during a conference call. Social media is an integral part of the modern workplace, but if it becomes a distraction during phone calls, it’s probably best to give mom a ring a little later.


4. Zzzzzzzzzz

Thinking about getting some shut eye during a call? Maybe think again… 27% of respondents to this survey have admitted to falling asleep during a company call. Unless you’re being paid to be a part of NASA’s sleep study, do yourself and your colleagues a favor and grab some coffee, stretch, and rub those eyes. Must…stay…awake…


Sleeping on a conference call


5. Checking email

This one is a no brainer. Unless you’re being asked by someone to send a specific email, keep your attention on the task at hand. Groupon isn’t as important as we make it out to be, and yes, there will still be great deals available for your viewing pleasure tomorrow.



6. Taking care of business

In public speaking, it is often suggested that you imagine your audience in their underwear. I can’t say the same can be said for conference calls. A reported 47% of employees admitted to using the restroom during conference calls. Have fun picturing that one next time you’re on a call.


7. Too Many Cooks

Does everyone in the family need to attend the conference call? In all likelihood, the answer is no. Having too many people on the line can get frustrating, both for moderator and participant, especially when everyone is trying  to interact and get a word in. If properly moderated, conference calls can be a breeze, but in order to keep everyone on task and engaged, it might be smart not to invite everyone and their dog. This can be another good way to make sure that everyone in the call is on task and engaged, not committing any of the other 7 deadly sins.

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