Longbored Surfer

2006.03.09 Conference Them In

Frequently I am on conference calls at work. For some whacked reason, people think that none of us is as smart as all of us, but they fail to grasp the effectiveness, or lack thereof on a conference call. Sometimes, while on a call, people feel the need to get somebody else on the call that wasn't on the call to begin with. So what do they do? They end up calling the poor sucker, and conferencing them in the second that they answer the phone. Now they not only have to talk to the person they thought was calling (thanks to caller ID), but a whole group of people.

I have a co-worker that loves to do this. They get a call from somebody, then they don't know the answer, so they call me and say "okay, I have _______ on the line, I'm going to conference them in." It drives me INSANE that they do this. I answered the phone because I was willing to talk to you (but your chances are dimming for your next phone call to me). There are no guarantees that I was willing to talk to that other person.

This isn't all caused by a lack of desire to talk to other people. I think it's probably based on some people just feeling inept with their own communication skills. You can explain perfectly well what the problem is and I can tell you the answer, or give you the response. Nobody said that I have to hear them explain it to me, while you're on the phone, only to have me try to explain it to both of you. You're on a better level of technical understanding than this other person (for the most part). Just don't conference me in without my consent.

In the same thought process, don't bring somebody over to my desk to talk to me about something you don't understand. If you have something you'd like to ask me, do it on your own. If they have something to ask me, have them ask me, but don't show up in a group and expect me not to be hostile.

The other thing I find highly amusing is when people conference somebody in too soon. They'll call the number, and conference them in before they answer the phone. Then we all find out that the person isn't at their desk, and we get their voice mail….. but we can't disconnect them from the call because of crappy technicalities. So it ends up that either we all have to hang up (for a local conference call), or the person who conferenced them in has to hang up (long-distance conference calls). Guess you should have found out if they were available first, and probably asked for permission to conference them into a large group of people. This might be in line with those people who shouldn't be permitted to use the Reply-To-All button on their office email.

Tag(s): soap_box work

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