Have you been blessed with the ability to work from home this past year? And did that experience mean spending lots of time on many a conference call?
As I write this, I am on leave. Long-awaited and highly deserved leave – if I do say so myself. And the funniest thing is that I am still not shielded from the typical video conference call woes that 2020 graced us with. Everything from the patchy internet connectivity to the sub-optimal audio quality. Name a disaster and I am sure we have all been there at least once. I happen dip my toes in, then dive in head first every single day. *Rolls eyes*
If you don’t work in the corporate world, I am still certain that you have experienced some of these. It could your grandma who doesn’t know how to turn on the camera or your classmate who keeps doing everything but pay attention to the lecture, with his video camera on. So today, we are exposing some of the annoying things that happen on conferences.
For the purpose of this post, I will give each conference call offender a random name. None of these are people I work with, so don’t try asking where I work or Googling my ‘colleagues’.
“Ashley is having trouble dialling in. Let’s give her a few more minutes.”
There is always that one laggard who always has some sort of issue dialling in. It doesn’t matter how far in advance they received the meeting invite, they never seem to make it on time for the conference call. And what is the typical excuse? Trouble dialling in. Well, that person is Ashley, and she seems to have unending technological challenges, so everyone has to wait for her. What I have always wondered about ‘Ashley’ is if she was really having trouble dialling in or if she forgot to attend the meeting.
“John, turn on your mic please!”
I don’t quite understand why in every single conference, there is that one person who has trouble turning on their mic. You would think that after months of repeating the process several times, this would come as second nature. I mean, I have been that person before, but by the second time, I knew that clicking on the microphone icon would turn on my mic. But who are we to judge?
John, I really am not judging you. I fully understand that symbols may mean different things in different languages. Oh wait… the calls have all been in English – nevermind!
Oh, and John, please don’t forget to turn your mic off again before you decide to answer a call on your cell phone. We can still hear you!
“Can you hear me now?” – Kay
I have found this phrase to be a staple in every single conference call I have attended. We understand that with so many people working from home, service providers are overloaded. But what doesn’t quite make sense to me is when Kay continuously asks “Can you hear me now?”
Here’s the thing, Kay, if you haven’t moved, changed any settings, rebooted your modem, or dialed out and back in, the audio will sound the same. At least switch from wifi to 4G before asking!
“Ricardo, your screen froze”
What I recently learnt about Ricardo is that it is him, not his screen, that has frozen. Poor old Ricardo was asked to speak about something he wasn’t fully prepared for, so he decided that his golden ticket out of the hot seat was to do the mannequin challenge. And just like clockwork, conversations have stopped while everyone tries to tell him that they cannot hear or see him. What I find funny about this is that if they did indeed believe his connection was lost, how would they expect him to hear them say “Ricardo, I think we lost you” over and over again?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if he didn’t ‘hear’ you the first time, repeating it will not make a difference. Kind of like calling someone repeatedly after they miss your call – persistence isn’t always an asset
“Thanks everyone. Thank you. Thanks for joining the conference call. Thanks again.” – Shelly
I am guilty of this, horribly guilty. There is something about the end of physical meetings that is super awkward, but that awkwardness is amplified over a video conference call. I’m never sure if it is ok to just drop off, or if you need to thank the participants. And then there is the problem of thanking them individually before leaving vs saying one big thank you. My logic is that if you are in a physical meeting with a client, you will shake each of their hands before you leave. So why not do the same on a video conference call?
However, as good as my intentions may be, I tend to say thank you after someone has just thanked me. And then I follow up with thanking everyone, right before Ricardo starts to speak again. And then someone thanks Ricardo and we start all over again.
Am I the only one who ends a conference call by playing a game of ‘thank you chess’?