To conference call or not at all

To Conference call or not at all

There are many new forms of communication these days – probably too many to mention….. and for me they all have their place in the world (work and at home). Just like the debate a few years ago which compared letters vs e-mail and a telephone conversation vs a text – conference calls are under scrutiny vs ‘other forms of video conferencing’.

Unlike the original forms which were being substituted by the new available options, where the new offers – ‘forced a change in behaviour’ but also added a layer of ‘benefit, efficiency or saving’; conference calls still offer a facility which is unique!

conference call or not at all

Conference calls if used as part of a communication method are as effective as a well-balanced diet – everything in moderation and a little of everything will do no harm!!

I agree that if the only form of communication (in any team or workplace) was to conference call, it would be less than effective, it wouldn’t allow for the personal element, would favour the talkative, and would be a lonely world for a number of colleagues; but as part of overall communication methods it is the perfect solution.

We use the conference call facility every week, for both our national field teams and international field team. We have up to 25 attendees on the call routinely and have a slick roll call to confirm who is in attendance. It is a fantastic way for a field-based team to connect, communicate and be able to participate, while all being in a remote location and only requiring a phone connection! Without needing to be based where there is internet – or having to be in a place where you can be seen, it’s the ideal option for a remote field team.

Video conferencing is something we also use, but it does have its place (meaning you need to be in a ‘place’).  A conference call has the ability to literally be ‘on the go’ and even on the move. That is a great way for a remote team to communicate.

A conference call is an ideal method where a number of people need to share / hear information and where you want to allow the greatest flexibility of participants to be in a location which matches their working needs for the day.

conference call or not at all

All forms of communication are important, it’s about choosing the right form at the right time and a mixture of all is the ideal. There is no substitute for face to face meeting and spending time with each other, but you can’t do that every day or week and the ability to speak and communicate with each other, share ideas and thoughts is invaluable.

So back to the well-balanced diet… meetings, telephone calls, e-mails, training sessions and working groups all have their place, each creating a separate element, which makes up efficient communication with the ability for each colleague to participate and feel part of the team.

Like the well-balanced diet there is always room to try something new, always the option to ‘mix’ things up a little’ and always room to do better.

Sarah Jane Pilling

Head of Field Operations