Anyone else a Redditor?
I like Reddit. It’s an “acquired taste” for a form of communication for sure, and your experience really depends on the type of subreddit that you get stuck into and the conversations that you choose to join.
Unsurprisingly, I’m usually reading the startups and marketing discussions. However, I’ll also look on ELI5 every now and then and TIFU. It’s the TIFU subreddit that is mostly driving this post.
TIFU, for those of you not so Reddit-speak versed, stands for Today I F###ed Up. The posts are self confessions—which must have some sort of therapeutic value to the writer—that tend to have a very comedic value. What’s surprising, is the number of TIFU posts that are about conference calls. Maybe it isn’t so surprising, as there is so much room for error when participating in an online meeting.
3 Things Reddit Can Teach Us About Conference Calling
1. Not using your mute button can get you fired
This reigns as by far the most common thread in a lot of the conference call fail posts; leaving your phone on speaker when you think it is on mute can ruin your life.
I’ve read confessions from people who have unknowingly badmouthed their bosses, their bosses bosses, their bosses bosses bosses, to the entire upper management team. There are people who tell stories of the time they were called into the HR office the day after a conference call because it turns out that they were not on mute when they took a bathroom break. I’ve read about people who have left their laptop on and un-muted in the same room as a teenager and come back to find the entire office in a state of shock.
Here are the rules:
- Press the mute button before you do or say anything that you don’t want everyone on the call to hear.
- Then, check and double check that the mute button is actually pressed.
- Then, don’t say or do anything weird, obnoxious, or offensive anyway, because you should never trust the mute button!
2. Your colleagues hate it when you act up
There are a few stories that indicate that not only can people tell when their colleagues are not listening or invested in the conversation, but they resent it also. It makes sense if you think about it, as why should a couple of people do all the work when some people are slacking off?
Things that have become apparent include:
- Team members who are very obviously checked out on the call.
- Typing noises that show a person is doing other work (or not) instead of listening to what is said.
- Team members who basically stay on mute for the entire call and don’t contribute.
- People who are late.
- People who are late and then interrupt the flow by asking for a recap.
- People who allow distracting noises in the background—baby crying, kids playing, piano lessons, loud music, video games, construction work—to infiltrate the call.
3. There is no excuse for not being technically savvy
The main theme that tends to come through here, is that on a conference call, when you waste your own time you are also wasting other people’s time. That’s why people get annoyed when you are late to get in to an online meeting. That’s why they get frustrated when you can’t work out the PIN numbers and passcodes that you need to get into the correct conference call. That’s why they roll their eyes when you blame a poor internet reception.
There are so many tools out there now to help you avoid all of the common conference call pitfalls that there really is no excuse. While your colleagues might not say anything to your face about it, if Reddit (an anonymous forum) is anything to go by, they do notice, and they do resent it.
Make a start by downloading the MobileDay App if you haven’t already got it. You’ll never have to worry about not being able to find the dial-in code again. At least then there’s one less thing that you can mess up!
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