I recently started a new job that has a very different corporate culture than I am used to , almost all of our meetings are held via conference call.  What makes it different is that everyone is sitting at their own desks talking on the phone to each other.  The person that has the office next to mine is usually on the same call as me as well as a number of other individuals on my same team.  I can usually hear their speaker phones.  I end up listening to the call in stereo.

The problem is that I have a lot of trouble following the conversation on the phone.  I have tried walking around, turning off all other distractions (email, computer), keeping my hands busy with something, and taking notes.  I miss the ability to see the people I am talking too and reading body language and seeing lips move. 

I am not currently in a managerial role and I am not sure how to bring a change to this particular piece of the companies culture.

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions on how I can either bring about a change or to help me stay focused through out the call?

simonspeichert's picture

My first thought is what an odd practice that is. I can certainly understand how hearing the conversation from multiple sides would be distracting.

Is there somewhere else you can go to participate in the conference calls? An empty boardroom or an unused cube, away from others who are participating in the call might improve your focus. It'll certainly eliminate the stereo effect.

asteriskrntt1's picture

If you are dialing in through your laptop, use your noise reduction earphones instead of the speaker phone or your laptop speakers.  I have a pair of Shure 220s that I use for my ipod.  However, you can go to your local electronics store and get a set for $20 if you don't need the audiophile or super sound reduction.  You still can talk into the speaker phone but you just turn down the volume.  Works great the few times I have done it. 


jhack's picture

Have you listened to this cast:

It's chock full of tips for being more effective on teleconference calls.  Interesting note: M&M recommend that you don't have some folks in a room while others are on by themselves.  So maybe your colleagues are onto something...(although the speakerphones should be replaced by headsets).  

John Hack

Cocasio's picture

I will give this one a listen.