The 10 Rules of Conference Calls – A Not So Definitive list

The conference call is now ubiquitous in many working environments, but wherever I have worked a number of universal truths seem to apply:

  1. The number of connectivity problems that you experience is directly proportional to the importance of the call. This rule applies in most connectivity situations, but is particularly applicable in situations where connectivity is normally reliable.
  2. The key member of the meeting will join the meeting precisely 2 minutes after you decide to close the meeting down having made numerous attempt to try and contact that key individual. This is a two part rule. The moment that you close the call all other participants will become unavailable making reconvening the meeting impossible.
  3. If a colleague asks you how much longer you’ll be on your call and you say 2 minutes the call will last for at least a further 20 minutes.
  4. If you are on a call while working from home a delivery person will knock on your door at the precise moment when you need to be contributing to the call. Other distractions are available.
  5. If anyone is going to have problems going on mute it will be the person on the call with the most background noise.
  6. You will be speak whilst on mute when you have your best idea. When you repeat your idea once you are off mute it won’t sound quite as good as it did the first time.
  7. If a colleague asks you how much longer you’ll be on your call and you say 20 minutes the call will only last for a further 2 minutes. In these 2 minutes your colleague will have already left or become unavailable.
  8. The delay between the published start time and the actual start time is directly proportional to the number of people expected on the call. This has nothing to do with any technical limitation.
  9. If the conference call has an online Q&A capability your question will be answered by the speaker at the very instant that you post the question.
  10. Any meeting that finishes early will be closed with the words “I’ll give you XXX mins back.” This rule applies to any meeting that closes more than 4 minutes early, but may still be applied to meetings that finish up to 30 seconds early.

I’m sure I’ve missed some?

Heaver Image: This is the beach at Rossall, Lancashire which is a wonderful place to walk and watch the sun set over the Irish sea and across the Cumbrian Mountains.

3 thoughts on “The 10 Rules of Conference Calls – A Not So Definitive list”

    1. If the meeting includes presentation material, the presenter will always ask some variant of “Tell me when you can see my screen”. I believe it would be more efficient to simply share and start introducing your subject knowing that it may be up to a 10 second delay before everyone can see in normal situation .. something along the lines of this would be much more purposeful: “While my screen sharing is initializing, let me begin by explaining …. “

      Liked by 1 person

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