What to Do When You Hear Crickets on Conference Calls
SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 @ 12:55 PM | BY CHRISTINA TODISCO
One of the most uncomfortable moments that can happen on a conference call is when you find yourself with someone who can’t keep the conversation going and, even more oddly, doesn’t mind the ‘sound of crickets’—no one speaks, just dead silence. That leaves you wondering whether what you said made sense, bored the others on the lines or was totally off base. Either way, it’s a lose-lose-lose situation. A lull in conversation can happen for a variety of reasons. Oftentimes, a person on the other end will be multitasking and will look for any break in the conversation to send an email, check his or her mobile device or complete an administrative task. Or, the silence could mean that an individual is simply waiting for you to talk. A caller might even mute their line and then forget to unmute before answering. In any case, it is poor etiquette to expect the people on the call to keep the conversation going—especially if you initiated the call.
Therefore, the key is to keep your participants engaged to avoid an awkward lapse in conversation. The best solution for this is to lay out your agenda ahead of time so that all parties involved know the planned schedule and you can seamlessly move from one point of interest to another during a lull. By letting the other parties know your exact intentions early on in the call, it can facilitate an easy flow and prevent a live communication breakdown.
A further step to avoiding this scenario is to pretend that you are engaging with an entire audience instead of just a few people. By actively filling lapses in conversation with talking points, it will prevent you from relying on the others for ideas. Your participants, in turn, will respect you for coming to the table with enough information to fill the void and for not wasting time.
But, at the end of the day, don’t be terribly bothered by silence. In fact, silence is often a good thing—meaning you struck chord with the person on the receiving end of the call. Now it’s your job to do the listening and to let them chime in.
Posted at 12:55 PM in Conferencing Tips |