Who’s really listening? Mobile conference call participants may not be giving their undivided attention.

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Just how engaged are conference call participants, especially over a mobile device. A study by West Unified Communications Services a few years ago uncovered what some may have suspected all along – not everyone is giving their undivided attention to the call. In fact, the study of over 500 full-time employees to find out about their conferencing habits found that 82% of participants work on unrelated items while on a mobile conference call.

  • 65% do other work
  • 63% send emails
  • 44% text
  • 43% check social media
  • 25% play video games
  • 21% shop online

The study found that multitasking capabilities afforded by mobility also enable getting up and away from the desk while on a call to eat or make food (55% of participants) and go to the restroom (47%).

While it one thing to multitask on a conference call; it’s another to hang up and move on. But that’s exactly what some survey participants owned up to doing. Among participants, 39% of employees admitted to dropping off a call without announcing it to maintain the appearance of still being on the call. Another 27% admitted to falling asleep and 5% even asked a colleague to sit in for them.

Why the lack of attention?

The degree of multitasking that goes on during mobile conference calls begs the question why isn’t everyone paying attention? The answer may be too many meetings. Plantronics recently conducted a global survey and found that over 40% of respondents spend between 11 and 30 or more hours a week in meetings. Many of them don’t need to happen either. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that $37 billion is spent on unproductive meetings each year.

Make conference calls count

Whether it’s for marketing, a discussion of new products and services or how to streamline operations, make sure conference calls are meaningful. Don’t get everyone on a call if an email is sufficient to get input you need. However, if you determine that a conference call is needed, here are tips to make it more effective and efficient:

  • Send out an agenda ahead of the call. The agenda provides direction and establishes the goal of the meeting.
  • Ask everyone to introduce themselves. This is especially important if there are people on the call unfamiliar to everyone.
  • Start on time and if you are the moderator make sure to call in early.
  • Keep comments brief and ask for input as you move along in order to keep all callers engaged.
  • Provide time for questions at the end.
  • Wrap up the call with a summary of next steps.
Ensure audio clarity on conference calls on the go

You have no control over the environment when you are participating in a conference call out of the office – and possibly even when you are on site especially in open-space office environments. A noise canceling headset can assure you hear everything and that other participants hear you and that you aren’t distracted by noise around you. As an example, the new Voyager 5200 UC headset features WindSmart technology an exclusive Plantronics innovation, which ensures extraordinary wind and noise reduction to help combat the noise mobile workers encounter while on the go.

At times you may with a team member away from the office and it’s necessary to launch or participate in a conference call. The Plantronics Calisto 620 is a portable wireless Unified Communications (UC) speakerphone that instantly transforms a laptop or smartphone into a high-quality conferencing device. Featuring 360° full duplex audio and Bi-directional microphones that activate in the direction of the speaker’s voice, the Calisto 620 ensures callers hear you and not background noise.

Next time you schedule a conference call, make sure you get everyone’s attention with the right content as well as the right audio equipment.

 

 

About Judi Hembrough

Judi leads Americas Marketing strategy and go-to-market programs for the Small and Medium Business (SMB) customer segment at Plantronics. Judi has been a marketing director at Plantronics for 10 years in various roles focused on Strategic Alliances Marketing, SMB and Home & Home Office solutions. Prior to Plantronics, Judi was President of William-Christie Associates, Inc. -- a management consulting practice, for 10 years where she guided numerous companies such as Palm, Intuit, CBS MarketWatch and HID, in driving new initiatives.