Sorry I was on mute.

By | 2014-01-27

803fimage_large.jpeg-510x250A typical day at the office. The reminder goes off in Outlook 15 minutes early for that 9:00 meeting and it begins. Am I on time, because I patiently wait the 15 minutes, or am I late and holding the meeting up because I started a task that took 20 and was so focused that I lost track of time? Is the LAN congested so I can’t get into the bridge over VOIP or did I/T just push install a critical Chrome update that’s rebooting my computer, and soft phone, in 5 minutes?

Sorry, I was on mute. Could you repeat the question? Ruff ruff, down Sparky! Another day of someone pulling their hair out.

Ever feel like it’s Groundhog Day and you’re Ned Ryerson the weather guy? How many of us do this over and over and over again? This video touched home in a big way.

Is this really the new normal? How about a paradigm shift to alter the reality? Maybe something clever like video? Bluejeans.com anyone? Google Hangouts? Fuze? Skype? FaceTime? There are so many better ways. By the way, consider not using mute and instructing attendees that if they have background noise they need to find somewhere they aren’t distracted. I used to park my car in a lot with the AC off so I could be completely present. Yes, it was hot.

Be there as if you are there. Dedicate the time and don’t multitask. It’s not always possible, but IMHO, it’s a goal worth striving for.

Here’s a thought: Mandatory training on optimizing the use of communication technology. A basic agenda would include how to:

  • use key features of your basic communications technology,
  • tell if you’re on mute,
  • find a headset that has noise cancellation and a boom mic so you don’t have to yell to be heard,
  • test and optimize your communications, to assure optimal in and out sound quality,
  • initiate dial out to bring people into your meeting rather than waiting for them to dial in,
  • use an alternative dialer, like MobileDay, if yours is exceedingly slow,
  • verify your bandwidth if you’re on VOIP and your signal if you’re on cellular,
  • find a quiet remote location to use for joining a call while not in a private room,
  • set a 5 minute reminder as a default rather than 15,
  • schedule meetings for 20 or 50 minutes to avoid back to back situations where everyone is late,
  • determine beforehand if there are any new attendees so it is possible to avoid 5 minute reintroductions.

If that wasn’t enough for you, try this endless Conference Call Simulator. It loops – just like in real life. This one includes the frequently heard ‘we’ll have to put a team on that to evaluate whether we need to start a project and assign a team…

What would that startup company that’s competing against us do? Right, I already mentioned what they are doing.

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