My last blog discussed conference calls and how they turn us all into zombies. I asked for some stories or ideas concerning how to make them more interesting.
I got nothin’.
Then I tried to come up with my own ideas, and began writing the usual boring suggestions like “start on time; stick to your agenda; blah, blah, blah.”
So, I decided to remember my best conference call experience and extrapolate from that situation what made it so good. I recalled a conference call I attended years ago in the executive boardroom of my bank.
Going to the meeting, I got on the floor and hit the executive elevator button as others looked at me, wondering why I was going there. The elevator doors opened on the executive floor, and I was met with the inevitable numerical pad. I looked at my post-it note and entered the code with a sense of danger. Suddenly, I felt like James Bond.
The doors unlocked, and I was met with the silence only an executive floor at a financial institution can produce. It was like entering a mausoleum.
I went into the meeting and took my place at the large, dark, walnut table. The executives entered one-by-one, nodding quietly. The administrative assistant set up the phone, and people began to dial in.
There were only about five other executives on the call, and one was using her cell phone. She called in and then failed to put us on mute.
In the meantime, she went into the bathroom of her office. We could hear a door opening and shutting, and suddenly eye contact was made around the table. The woman continued to talk as if she were at her desk. We heard some additional noises I will not go into, including the unrolling of toilet paper.
The executives around the table began to snicker like sixth grade boys. I was maintaining my composure until we heard the inevitable . . . . fffffllussssh. Our Retail Leader put the phone on mute and slid under the table with laughter.
The woman continued talking while we laughed until tears were streaming down our faces. Once we collected ourselves, we had an extremely productive conference call – people were open, energized, and solution-oriented.
So, there’s my tip for creating a memorable conference call. Cut out the zombie behavior. Allow yourselves to be human. Laugh. Interact. And always flush.
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