12 Certain Ways To Ruin A Conference Call 

Email may be the predominant form of communication in business, but it’s not the only medium. Moreover, it’s not used for the most important moments. Face-to-face meetings or live phone calls are required for urgent problems or significant planning issues. Live communication is personal and direct. No matter how commonplace email has become, we still have to be humans from time to time.

Conference calling will always be popular because, while more informal methods like email can get convoluted, more formal meetings are problematic logistically and otherwise inconvenient or invasive for most people. From underlings to CEOs, conference calls drive exchanges outside the company. Expect to spend a fair amount of time, particularly some of the most significant moments of your career, on the phone with others.

Representing your organization in a conference call comes great responsibility. It really is no place for rookie mistakes. Here is a consideration of the 12 most certain ways you can ruin that conference call.

  1. Eating Over The Phone

It’s not polite, and even though I may be eating a sandwich while typing this article, no one wants to hear a sandwich being chewed or a nasally voice talking over chewing. Beyond that, you certainly don’t want ten other people having that image of you. Eat before the meeting or at least bring in something quiet to eat or drink.

  1. Using Dating Sites or Social Media

Some faux pas are so evident that they are obnoxious to even suggest, too obvious to consider, but weird things happen all the time. In fact, there was at least one poll claiming ten percent of people admitted to perusing dating sites during conference calls. Social media can be an addiction, but tell your girlfriend you will favorite her latest tweet after work and use social media for major updates regarding the industry or the company.

  1. Falling Asleep

Another seeming no-brainer, Wall Street Journal acknowledges over 25 percent of people admit to having snoozed through a conference call. Even Morgan Freeman was busted sleeping during a video conference. Get a good night’s sleep before going to work.

  1. Checking Email or Other Divided Tasks

Most people do other work during conference calls, including checking email. There is always something coming up, something more to do. Writing a report during a call is not doing a favor to the client or your organization. Multitasking is an important workplace skill, but focus needs to be prioritized to the clients and business matters at hand, then move on.

  1. Using the Toilet

Hello? The 21st century is calling. Modern convenience reigns supreme. We can get anything on a moment’s notice and aren’t particularly good about remembering how to do things the old way. We used to take breaks to do things like eat, smoke, go to the bathroom, etc. These days, we work all the time. Half of conference callers go to the bathroom while on the phone. This isn’t even polite to do with a friend, don’t let your source of income hear your gastrointestinal noises.

  1. Inviting the Entire Company

While it is good practice to be inclusive and transparent as a company, it’s not the best practice to flood one room with people talking over each other. Clients on the other end need a cohesive review from a well-informed representative. It’s important to include concerns from colleagues, but co-workers have more valuable job duties besides snoozing through conference calls.

  1. Not Being Battle Ready

It’s one thing to be behind in work. It’s another thing entirely to not have materials prepared to share with someone who scheduled time to listen to you. They don’t want to hear that you are not quite sure whether you got that email or why you don’t have the data that was requested. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row before the call.

  1. Not Knowing How to Use the Equipment

Despite technological innovations, dogs are still man’s best friend, technology is not. Glitches, crashes and a myriad of horror stories, plague office equipment. People understand things happen, but there’s a limit to patience. Save excuses of mishaps for rare occasions. Make sure you know how to manage multiple lines and other trickery of smartphones or computer programs before making the call. Don’t accidentally drop the call when you meant to mute it for a second to sneeze. Dropping the ball at the wrong time can lose the game.

  1. Having the Call In a Noisy Place

The random locales for conference calling by the Wall Street Journal include a truck stop bathroom, a pool in Vegas, even a closet at a friend’s house during a party. While it’s considerate to dedicate some intimacy to a meeting, being at a party in the first place was probably a bad idea. Callers don’t want to hear some guy walking by with a boombox, but that doesn’t mean an echoey shower stall is the place to get away from the noise. Find something halfway professional.

  1. Rambling On and On and On

Everyone hates meetings. Everyone. Short and to-the-point is a recipe for success. Of course, don’t cut people short or disregard issues. Bring everything necessary to the table, not including why your mother didn’t like the last conference call interrupting lunch plans and a multitude of other needless things that are an annoyance to people and their busy work days.

  1. Not Being Interesting

Some people are boring. Personally, I am as monotone and deadpan as they come, but it doesn’t mean I am a stick in the mud. Have some ice breakers, some funny things to reduce tension. Try to show that you’re a real person. If the callers wanted an automated response, they would just send email. Don’t be so focused on the product you’re selling that is becomes the only mission you care about. Customers buy with their emotions, not their analytic minds. Make that someone excited to buy from you or work with you. That only happens if they think you’re personable.

  1. Driving While Conferencing

Smartphone sophistication extends to car stereos and other hands-free devices, making driving and talking convenient. People won’t be too upset if you schedule a last minute meeting during a drive to Denver, but make these cases rare and don’t make it too obvious that you’re driving. People get upset when others drive and use the phone, even people that drive and use the phone themselves. Accidents happen because people’s minds are on other things. It’s important to keep your mind on the road, so you make it to Denver. When possible, save the call for a time that your client won’t hear you squeal off the highway to your death.

A good number of points from this list share a common thread: don’t be distracted. If you need to, be distracted by doodling or playing word games related to the meeting. It takes a lot of practice to keep your head in the game while also being distracted. And when you attend 20 calls per week with a rotating cast of characters that drop in to portions of calls, it’ll get tedious and frustrating. Bad stuff will happen. Corners will be cut. A smart person will let that happen to someone else. When it comes back to bite them, you will be in line to win the contract.

Photo credit: Bigstock

How to ensure that your online conference calls are successful

Hosting a successful meeting takes a certain amount of skill. You need to be sure that you have the attention of all the attendees, and that something productive result from the meeting. Otherwise, what was it for in the first place? Ensuring that you had the attention of those in attendance wasn’t fairly difficult to do in face to face meetings—you could easily see if someone’s interest was waning and take steps to reel them back in. However, phone conferences are a completely different story—you never know what the person or people on the other end of the conversation are doing, and there are certainly plenty of distractions in an office to take their attention away from a conference call.

Online conference calls are different from both of the above meeting types, in that you may not always be able to see the other attendees, but more features and functionality (depending upon which app you use) can help make the meeting more enjoyable and successful. But that doesn’t mean you can just sit back and relax either—it still helps to know how to host an effective conference call in order to ensure rapt attention from your colleagues, vendors, clients, or anyone else .

1. Know the software

Obviously you’ll want to have a good grasp of the application you are using for your online conference calls. The last thing you want to be doing in the middle of a meeting is searching the screen for the right button to push or have trouble adding attendees. That can cause the flow of the meeting to be destroyed in an instant, and also makes you look unprepared and unprofessional. Take the time to read the reviews of the different apps available for conference calls, and see which ones mention ease of use. One popular choice that is very easy to use, but still contains a lot of functionality and features is UberConference

2. Be prepared

If you are planning on sharing documents or screen sharing so that others can see videos, files, graphics or other content on your own screen, make sure everything is already in place and easy to find. Once again, you don’t want to be fumbling around looking for the right file. This can also ruin the flow of the meetings and cause people’s interest to wane. It also helps to provide everyone with the information about the planned meeting ahead of time, with perhaps a follow-up reminder shortly before the meeting is to begin. Obviously, you also want to make sure that those who you would like to attend the online conference calls have the application you are using installed on their PCs or mobile devices as well.

3. Be there early

It’s proper protocol to be the first one at the meeting—otherwise attendees will be wondering if they have made the right connection if they don’t find their host waiting once they join the connection. Being there early also enables you to meet and greet attendees as they join the connection, and you can answer any questions anyone might have before the meeting begins.

4. Be interesting and informative

Don’t just rattle off facts and figures. Try to add some value to the meeting by figuring out what the attendees might want, and then offer it to them. For example, if you are describing a new product or service, be sure to mention how the features will benefit them. If you are discussing a project, then be sure to make sure that everyone knows his or her role and responsibilities, and talk about how the completion of the project will help the business grow. The key word is “productive”. By providing useful information with a positive end result, attendees leave the conference knowing exactly what they will receive, and provides them with a goal or call to action.

You may have other tricks up your sleeve that you can use to ensure that your online conference calls are successful, but remember that you must also have an application that is reliable and easy to use. Take the time to learn about each of the applications you may be interested in and see which one will work best for your business needs. Remember also that those you ask to attend your online conference calls will need to use the same application, so be sure that it is easy for them to quickly learn as well.

Collaborative Learning: Web Conferencing Tools Made Easy

Computer technology has progressed in amazing ways, providing a seemingly endless list of tools to make life, work, and even learning easier and more available. In reference to education, electronic learning (e-learning) successfully utilizes electronic media in the pursuit of higher learning. E-learning takes advantage of such media technologies as typed text, imagery, audio bites, video, and animation to teach its diverse lessons.

Although television and audio/video tapes have been successful e-learning outlets, the internet has revolutionized distance learning, mainly due to its interactive attributes. One of the most popular forms of internet e-learning lies in networking through a variety of platforms which allow the advanced sharing of information. Through such means, collaborative learning can occur which places a group together for the purpose of sharing and interacting, thus increasing learning time and effectiveness while reducing costs. 

Web Conferencing Features

Web conferencing technology is the driving force behind collaborative learning. Meetings, classes, and training sessions that used to only be accessible through person-to-person, telephone, email, or online chats are now available in face-to-face settings from great distances over the internet.

The value of a visual and audio presence will always hold its edge in any learning or training environment. The power to drive home a message relies on an acute ability to offer a winning presentation, and the visual and audio capabilities of web conferencing delivers these qualities to its audiences. 

Benefits of Web Conferencing

Web conferencing, therefore, offers a wide selection of benefits for those pursuing collaborative learning goals. A large number of people can get together from around the world to give and receive information. Through webcams and web microphones, interaction takes place in real time so that ideas, solutions, questions, and answers can all be shared with all who are in attendance.

Web conferencing platforms also allow users to interact through websites, pictures, charts, files, notes, recordings, videos, whiteboards, and more to present what is needed–all through a computer screen. These meetings can also be recorded and experienced over and over again to gain more from the information provided.

Both time and money is also saved through web conferencing technology. Great amounts of time are saved by bypassing travel. Meeting can be set up within minutes, shared through email, text, or phone and attended from wherever there is a computer and internet connection. Not having to travel to distant lands or even across town to attend meetings also saves a lot of expense as well as reduces one’s carbon footprint. 

UberConference Makes It Easy

UberConference is a top web conferencing application that allows its users to partake in stellar audio conference calls. Once the application is loaded, connection is made automatically through a dialup feature. Attendees are then selected and receive an email, text, or call to meet. No registration or PINs are required by attendees to be present at the meeting which has been initiated by the original user. The UberConference app is available for iPhone or Androids as well as computers.

Practically every feature necessary to create and attend a high quality web conference is included in the UberConference software. For instance, a visual overview is provided on every attendee so that everyone can be viewed which drastically reduces confusion of who said what. A variety of filtering features are also included so that users can mute, remove, add, or ‘earmuff’ (temporarily block) other callers. Meetings can even be recorded in a popular MP3 format.

The company of UberConference has taken their service to the next level by merging with Google which has a well established video platform, but suffers from limited voice call participation. The merger allows UberConference, with its limited video abilities, access to Google’s powerful video platform while enhancing it with its wide calling capacity (up to 100 people). The two companies integrate their technologies via the Google Hangouts platform which provides a conferencing experience that excels the expectations of any collaborative learning or other web conferencing requirement. 


The power of the internet has opened a wide and beneficial door for those seeking collaborative learning opportunities. By utilizing the latest web conferencing technologies, such as UberConference, knowledge can be obtained and skills honed easily, conveniently, and without wasting time and money.

(About the Author: Norah Abraham has been a freelance writer since 2005. She attended the University of Boston and graduated with a Bachelor in English Literature. She loves public speaking and motivates people in her own comic style. She loves gadgets and techie stuffs. In her career, she has written dozens of Press Releases, Articles, and Essays.)

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