talking and eating

If you’re currently on a conference call, here’s a shocker — one of the people listening in might be going to the bathroom. 

Forty-seven percent of people surveyed by Intercall, a conference call solutions provider, admitted to the behavior. Let’s just hope that the offending party hits the mute button first.

And while you probably won’t be surprised that others are texting or checking out who’s doing what on Facebook while Chatty Kathy goes on and on, 25 percent of those polled fessed up to playing video games, 21 percent admitted to shopping on line and 9 percent said they were lifting weights, running or otherwise working out.

Taking Care of Business

Want to know what your colleagues, business partners, suppliers and customers do while they wait for other participants to join the call? An admirable 76 percent do other work, but 16 percent admit to chowing down. In the latter case, this could be a kindness because who wants to endure the smell of cabbage live-and-in-person or watch someone indulge in chocolate fudge cake while on a diet?

And then we get to the people who don’t let anyone know when they’re running late. Chances are good that they’re over 35, but this same group is willing to wait more than six minutes for their colleagues to join.

Of course behavior changes when bosses, customers and big-shots are expected on the call. Then most folks dial-in five or more minutes early. Believe it or not, the hold music — if there is any — reportedly affects their mood. Now there’s a project for a data scientist: will listening to Beyoncé or Sia make people more likely to agree?

So Much Bad Behavior

And what about those things that people talk about while they wait for others to join? While company news, the weather and sports are common topics, the Intercall survey surfaced some bizarre scenarios as well, such as a worker who went on and on about his hemmorhoids after being asked how he was doing and a boss chatting about folks he was planning to lay off, not realizing they were also on the line waiting for the call to begin.

But perhaps it’s the fellow who drew an obscene picture on a virtual whiteboard who wins the prize for the biggest no-no.

The biggest takeaway from all of this? Show the same kind of respect to your co-conference call attendees as you’d want them to show to you.

Technology and distance don’t change the Golden Rule.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Title image by  David Boyle in DC