A Conference Call in Real Life

Working in an international environment means participating in conference calls. Instead to travel, meet and discuss face-to-face, it means dialing into a phone conference ‘bridge’. This can be augmented with ‘Netmeeting’ or other means of sharing files or desktop content.

A conference call in real life

A conference call in real life

While the biggest argument for conference calls are cost savings (no need to travel), in my experience such conference calls are much less effective than real meetings. The following fun video is about what conference calls would be like if they took place in an actual office meeting. If you have ever participated in a conference call, then the problems these people face will be very familiar to you :-).

Happy Conferencing πŸ™‚

3 thoughts on “A Conference Call in Real Life

  1. I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry as I have been that ‘conference call’ soooooo many times at counting them would not be possible. Working in IT with international groups; emails, IMs, and ‘conference calls’ are required as face to face meetings are not possible as there is no time to jump on a plane when you have a global outage and you have to talk to people on three(+) continents to solve the problem.

    The background sounds are something that one of my groups used to track in realtime on the virtual whiteboard (next to the actual on-going problem) in order to release the stress during outage calls; dogs, kids, ongoing fights with the girlfriend, snoring (20 hour call, so you end up cat-napping), baristas, traffic, live football games, TV shows, waiters, bartenders(!), and even a comedian (one of the on-call DevOps was at a standup show, stayed during the call(!) and got heckled by the on-stage comedian). Even though working in that group was stressful and you could put get your ’40 hours’ in just few days, they were a blast and I never met anyone of them in person, just their avatars.

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  2. Erich, I wrote a response paper on this. There are too many issues that occur in online conference calls that can easily be fixed when you apply the right web conference tool (upgrade beyond a phone line, people!), set the right expectations, and have a GREAT meeting leader. That said, if you have to suffer through another online meeting or conference call, and can’t stand it any longer, go to http://www.yourmeetingsucked.com and send the leader an anonymous note telling them how they can improve. Holler at me if you’d like a copy of that response. Cheers!

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