I've worked in the corporate world for some time now. I understand that meetings and TPS reports are probably always going to be a necessary evil in this world. Conference calls on the other hand are a different story. They should be limited. In fact, there should be a conference call handbook that all corporations should hand out when potential employees are being interviewed. What's that? You can't guarantee you'll abide by the Conference Call Handbook? Well I can't guarantee you will be leaving this interview with a job. It needs to be that simple. It also should be stressed that all CEO's, presidents, vice presidents and what have you will especially be expected to follow the rules in the Conference Call Handbook. Here's a look at a few of the guidelines I propose for this handbook:
- Limit the Number of People on the Call - This is a huge problem sometimes. Large corporations, which shall remain nameless for fear of retribution (let's be clear, not the one I work for), sometimes like to schedule calls with multiple companies all at once! As a result there are upwards to thirty people on them! People are talking over each other. No one really knows who is talking to whom. Sometimes people just get frustrated and hang up. Then there's me. I hit mute and discuss other matters of business with my fellow co-worker having to suffer through this with me. Got something to say to fifteen different companies? Send an e-mail and avoid the utter chaos.
- Only One Conference Call Per Day is Allowed - End of story and don't ask questions.
- Know Why You Are Joining, or Calling - Do not create or join in a conference call without first knowing why in the world you are doing so. Unless of course your plan is to remain silent the entire time. I know it would seem like this is common sense, but too often people get on unprepared and clueless.
- No Shout Outs or Calling Out - Save your shout outs for the local FM radio station. The last thing I need to hear is some VP doing everything but dedicate a song to one of the people on the line. Was that necessary? What kind of a nickname was that? Are you serious? "Pookie"? While we're on the subject of the unnecessary, it would be a good idea to call out someone for being a failure in a different setting other than a conference call. I'm just saying.
- If You Don't Have To, Don't - Anything that can be handled without a conference call (which is most things) should be handled without a conference call. I'm guessing Alexander Graham Bell didn't join many conference calls, and he seems to have done alright for himself. Why are you any different?