My company uses a lot of teleconferences for meetings since we’re all in different locations. Considering the global nature of Infosys, I wonder if we don’t use teleconferences more than the average company, but that’s another discussion, for another time.
Most teleconferencing call services are the same. One dials a main number, then enters a conference ID and is then presented with a simple question – please say your name and then press the ‘#’ symbol. While a simple question that is easily answered, the ramifications of saying your name are far greater.
The positives: Listing my name, like saying ‘here’ to a roll call says that I, Al Martine – new consultant who is also on the bench – have chosen to participate in this awe-inspiring event worthy of the leaders time. It kisses ass, with a hint of a being a team player – or is this reversed? All in all, on the surface referencing ones name appears to be a good thing.
Unless, the meeting is a total farking waste of time. And if you’ve worked at all in corporate or a firm that just loves meetings you know what I mean. The call starts late, the conversation is unstructured or poorly designed for a call and finally opens up to questions. On average, I’ve rarely heard a useful question that actually applies to me during this part of a call.
“Hey, Bob, this is Joe – long time listener; first time questioner. In regards to the new TPS report – should we have one or three cover pages?”
“That’s a great question Bob …” and if you’ve already read the TPS guidelines you would have known that it said ‘have 1 cover page’ so the 4-8 minutes of conversation around this topic is utterly useless.
So what do you do? If you’re in a face-to-face meeting one can take notes or brainstorm something else on paper, if you’re allowed to use laptops email can be checked or Facebook, if a Blackberry exists the same or a final option is to just stare into space until the moment is over. Hell, I’ve asked to be excused if the meeting rambled too much.
But, not in a phone call. Ya can’t speak up and say – hey guys, I’m going to go because this is farking useless. And – here’s the kicker – if you gave your name at the start of the call – ya can’t hang up either because if it’s like our system or most the software immediately says “Al … Martine” has left the call.
No explanation on my departure – just I’ve left. Not good. It’s the reason more experienced consultants never leave their name. It doesn’t kiss ass as much, but provides the open door at the end of a meeting that could have easily been replaced with a decent deck with filled in notes.
Young consultants, soon to be in the real world MBAs, those too dim to think of this yourself – take note.
Some final thoughts:
- One could probably do a study looking at the amount of people who don’t list their names and feedback on meeting effectiveness to get a pretty good gage on the organizer’s effectiveness
- Conference call companies – provide a way to leave a call without announcing Bob has left
- Conference call companies – provide options that could serve as a survey for why someone left that could be checked at the end of a meeting
- Farking Useless
- Had to use the bathroom, on corded phone
- Another meeting
- Fell asleep – forehead hit disconnect
- And finally, if you haven’t really prepared for a meeting – don’t have it.
Ya’ll have a nice day.