International Conference Call Minimize Distractions

How to Minimize International Conference Call Distractions

A few years ago, researchers from Research Now surveyed business conference call users about their experiences. They found an average of about 13 minutes of every conference call was wasted on interruptions and distractions. If your typical conference call runs about a half hour in length, losing 13 minutes to distractions puts a serious damper on the productivity of your global audio conferences. Fortunately, you can take matters into your own hands to minimize distractions and keep your calls productive.

Let’s look at the most common international conference call distractions so that you can recognize and avoid them:

  • Getting started — Small talk, finding out who’s on the call, waiting a few extra minutes to ensure everyone else has had a chance to join the call, sending text messages to attendees who haven’t joined the call, is one of the biggest distractions. If your global conference call starts at 9:00am, many attendees will have joined a few minutes early. Waiting until 9:05 or 9:10 to start could mean up to 15 minutes of time wasted. Multiply that times the number of attendees you have on the line and you’re looking at a serious loss of productivity.
  • Late joiners — Late joiners are disruptive, too. They may announce themselves and apologize for their tardiness — or even expect a quick synopsis of what they’ve missed. 
  • Background noise — It’s a common conference call courtesy to mute microphones when not speaking, but this doesn’t always happen. Whether someone doesn’t know any better or merely forgot to mute their line, background noise can be very distracting. For example, if a participant is typing notes on a keyboard, the sounds of typing could easily be heard by all. Likewise, landscapers with lawnmowers and leaf blowers outside one of your attendee’s office could drown out the speaker’s voice.
  • Fumbling with screen sharing — For video conferences, screen sharing is a useful tool. However, if the other person is unprepared for the handoff, it could be a time-consuming task to get up and running.

You’ll always need to get the global conference call started, have late joiners and attendees who fail to mute themselves, and you may need to share each other’s screens from time to time in a video conference. So, how do you manage all of the above? Here are a few ideas:

  • Set expectations and start on time — Let your attendees know your global conference call will start promptly at the scheduled time, and suggest that they dial in a few minutes early to give them time to enter their passcodes and get settled. Depending on the nature of your conference call, you may even want to lock your conference once it gets underway. If so, let them know the call will be locked promptly, which is another incentive for attendees to be on time.
  • Use operator assistance to track down late attendees — Locking your conference calls will eliminate the international conference call distractions of late joiners, but you may still want them to be able to attend your conference call, even if they must join late. Our operators can help and join dial key attendees who may have forgotten or had issues joining your call. Designate one of your colleagues to coordinate this or make arrangements before the conference call to have an operator track down any absentee participants. Meanwhile, start the conference call while without them. The operator will take care of the pleasantries and join these latecomers into your conference call in progress.
  • Use the live event viewer to mute any noisy or unmuted lines — Our live conference viewer provides you with a graphical list of attendees and the status of their microphones. When you hear background noise, a quick look will show you exactly which attendee is responsible. From there, a simple click of a button will mute that caller’s line to avoid those audio international conference call distractions.
  • Give the other presenter(s) a heads-up about screen sharing — If you know ahead of time who you might want to share their screens, it’s helpful to let them know you’ll be calling on them to share their screen at some point in the video conference. This gives them time to prepare a short presentation and have it open and ready on their computers. It also affords them the opportunity to close any other open applications that could be distracting when their screen goes live. If they’ve never used screen sharing, offer to do a quick practice run beforehand so they feel comfortable with how it works.

Whether you’re hosting a small audio conference with your distributed team or a huge global conference call with dozens of attendees, minimizing distractions will lead to a more productive call.

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