Some thoughts about conference calls vs meetings
I do not like conference calls. I am not a big fan of attempting to have conversations on the telephone at all, but to do it in a large group can be maddening. But what really disappoints me are leaders who believe conference calls are the same as meetings.
No. They are not.
If you tell someone that you are going to have a meeting, that person will assume a face to face, person to person, in the same room meeting. That is the expectation you have set by telling him/her we are going to have a meeting. If you suddenly call, you have went against your word. You have taken a little bit of the trust out of our relationship
Are conference calls appropriate in certain circumstances? Absolutely. If my team is scattered around the country and we need to meet about a project, or we want to have a weekly call to discuss things, that makes sense. We also have the expectation that this is a call.
But understand that when you are having a conference call, that most people are not fully engaged. We are either looking out the window, on iPads, computer screens, or doing other work. How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m sorry, I got distracted, say that again?”
If you have something important happening with your team, make every effort to do it in person. If not, at least be upfront that you will be having a conference call. But do not set up the expectation for one thing and deliver another.