The 10 stages of the conference call

It’s no wonder not many people like them.

David Quinn: BrightHR Social Media Manager

Hands up who likes a conference call? No, that’s right no one does. The theory behind them is great, get everyone together from wherever the are. But when it comes to the real world things aren’t so simple. Poor connections, mysterious background noises, people forgetting to press mute. All these can quickly turn the conference into a nightmare.

With that in mind we look at the ten stages everyone goes through on a conference call.

Stage 1: Annoyance

As we explained, nobody likes being on a conference call and if we were to ask if you get any use out of them you’d probably say no 9 times out of 10. So, it’s no wonder people are annoyed when they spot a conference call pop up in the diary for ten minutes time.

Stage 2: Patience

You’ve logged into the call and now the waiting game begins. Just sit back, listen to that cheesy hold music and wait.

Stage 3: Back to annoyance

You’ve now been on hold, listening to that god awful music, for about 6 minutes now. It seems much, much longer. ‘Why is nobody on the call yet?’, ‘Is that music Spice up your life in a samba style’, ‘when will someone put me out of this on hold music misery?’

Stage 4: Self doubt

It’s now 8 minutes since the call should have started and there’s still no-one on it. That’s when self doubt starts to set in. ‘Did I dial the right number?’, ‘Is the conference code correct?’. This self doubt usually gets the better of you and you hang up and start the whole process again

Stage 5: The passive aggressive name recording

This is the second time you’ve had to say your name into that annoying answering machine style intro. The first one was all upbeat and ready for the call this time it’s has the tone of defeat.

Stage 6: Silence

Unless you’re leading the conversation most conference calls don’t require you to say that much. You just have to sit back and wait, either until someone addresses you or until you touch upon a topic where you have something to contribute. Most of the time you could put your phone on mute, go off and make a brew and come back just in time to say goodbye. All safe in the knowledge that nobody would even miss you. But that would be a dangerous game, as you can guarantee the moment you did that someone would ask a direct question. It’s therefore best to sit and wait it out in silence.

Stage 7: Confusion

There comes a stage in every conference call when everyone starts to talk over each other. At this point who knows what the hell is going on and it ultimately leads to people having to repeat their points again. But this time individually so everyone can hear.

Stage 8: Anticipation

You’ve now been on the phone, listening, for over an hour. That’s when you hear the magic words ‘Is there anything else before we finish the call?’ or ‘Has anyone got any other business?’. That’s the sign the call is coming to the end and you pray that nobody does have anything else to add.

Stage 9: Nerves

Even though the call seems to be coming to an end you’re still not out of the woods. There's always the last second ‘could you stay on the line after the call’ request. Avoid these and you’re home and dry.

Stage 10: Relief

Finally the conference call is over and you can let out an exhausted, exasperated sigh of relief.

What does the future hold for the conference call? Is AR and VR about to take over? Why not take a glimpse into the future with our latest publication of The New Workforce