“A meeting is a gathering where people speak up, say nothing, and then all disagree.”
– Thomas Kayser
You could say this about conference calls too. To be fair it’s not that bad – conference calls solve the problem of distance, time and cost. But it’s no news that they can go wrong. Those “wrongs” aren’t just slight inconveniences or technical issues with audio/video but something way-way bigger:
Trouble 1: Frequency
According to the survey conducted by Research Now, 73% out of 1,092 respondents (US – 558 respondents and UK – 534 respondents) have 1-5 conference calls each week, while 17% has calls up to 6-10 times in a single week.
You’ll be surprised but there are people who have to deal with up to 15 conference calls a week (5%), and another similar group of people who participate in more than 15 conference calls (5%).
Conference calls are beneficial but organizing so many for a span of a week can negatively affect the productivity and work schedule of the call participants. Focusing on necessary tasks is difficult especially when you’re low on energy after so many calls.
Spontaneous conference calls are also a thing, since they usually take place without a written agenda.
This brings us to the next inconvenience:
Trouble 2: Distractions
Starting the conference call is time consuming. Research Now shows that it takes at least 8 minutes to get a call going. Some respondents (7%) mentioned that it takes more than 20 minutes to set up their conference call. This is a vast number that can diminish the call’s productive outcome and worsen people’s attention.
Researchers have found out that the average attention span in American adults has lowered to 20 and 10 minutes. Imagine how difficult it is to keep focus on long calls.
Considerable time is also wasted on distractions such as background noise and people who keep leaving and joining the meeting. 20% of respondents reported to having distractions that last up to 10 minutes throughout the call and 11% admit that it causes a major negative impact on productivity.
Imagine how cool would it be if you could mute all the background noise coming from the call participants to you. Well guess what, you already can! Krisp is an application to remove background noise in calls coming both from you and other participants. So give Krisp a try and increase your productivity!
Trouble 3: Security
As a participant you often times join a big conference call and you don’t really spend time looking through the participant list, but the same case with hosts is a different story. 99% of call hosts said they aren’t aware of who is in the conference call.
But that’s not all, 93% call participants actually share confidential information on the call and some do so frequently (20%).
This can become a major threat for all the call participants especially if conference call hosts are not aware of the people who are in the meeting. It’s necessary to strictly monitor who is in the call and avoid sharing personal information to be on the safe side.
Trouble 4: Screen Sharing
Screen sharing can slow down or freeze the conference call, depending on the quality of internet connection and the quantity of people who are in the call. This can also serve as a source of time wasting. 25% of respondents have admitted that it takes from 6 to 10 minutes to set up the screen sharing to be able to continue the call.
If you are having similar conference call issues, it’s better to deal with them as quickly as possible, or disable screen sharing. After all, it’s more important to have a timely productive meeting rather than a long and problematic one.
Trouble 5: Multitasking
All these previous inconveniences combined create an opportunity of multitasking. According to Statista 530 people keep multitasking during the conference call and mute themselves to be able to talk to someone else (65%), eat (35%), go to the bathroom (50%) and even take another call (18%).
This can negatively affect the conference call, since the person may forget to unmute themselves while speaking, or forget to mute when doing something else. This topic is so big, we will make a separate blog post about it. 🙂
What other conference call inconveniences do you know? Share them in the comments!