Have you ever sat on a conference call and wondered what exactly the other participants are doing when their phone is muted? Occasionally, you will have that call where someone on the other end is clearly not paying attention and awkward silence follows a direct question to them. What were they doing instead of paying attention to the conversation? The answer may or may not surprise you, depending on your level of cynicism (or realism). Clearly, with the explosion of mobile phone usage in and out of the workplace and the "always-connected" workforce, the opportunity for distracted conference calling has become much greater lately.
Thankfully, the communications firm Intercall recently conducted a survey that looked at the usage of mobile devices on conference calls and the opinions and activities of those that use them. The results are very interesting and not overly surprising (to me, at least). According to their research, over 20% of all conference call participants were using a mobile device to do so last year and of this group, 82% admitted to performing tasks unrelated to the call.
Intercall also looked at what exactly these conference call deviants were doing when they were supposed to be paying attention. Least surprisingly to me was that 44% of them admitted to texting during the call. This is not very surprising since you often see people doing this while you are in a meeting with them in person. What I found more surprising was that almost 40% admitted to dropping off a call before saying goodbye to make it seem like they stayed on. I guess I am behind the times, because I honestly have never thought about doing that. Looks like I am going to have to start taking roll call periodically throughout conference calls from now on...
Anyways, Intercall also created a pretty cool infographic that displays their findings. This is well worth a quick look. It may change how you view conference calls going forward.
Note: The graphic is horizontal, so please click on it to see a full-size version.
Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov