Friday, May 4, 2012

Meetings: Background Noise

I just got off of a conference call where something was flapping and ticking in the background on someone’s phone – annoying.  Distracting. 

And distracting means ineffective.
Lots of meetings these days take place over the phone.  If you’re on one of these virtual meetings, watch your own background noise.  Dogs barking, fans blowing, wind coming in from the window over speaker phone, kids bursting in, keyboard clicking next to speaker, and on it goes.  Here’s what happens: we hear a strange noise on the conference call and our brains wonder what it is.  Our attention gets pulled off what’s going on.  Then you get annoyed, wondering if other people hear that noise.  Then finally someone says, “please put your phone on mute.”  By that time, the people in the meeting have lost focus – not in a big way, but enough.Solution?  Use a headset.  Also, if you’re not sure if your environment is quiet enough, do a test call with a friend.