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Conference Villains: the Conference Hog
November 1, 2013 @ 01:35 PM | By Dennis Collins


Think of a time when there was a really good conversation that led to a productive conference call. Usually, there is an ebb and flow of words and sentence breaks, and everyone gets an opportunity to speak. A conference hog, however, hates that everyone takes turns—and will do everything in his or her power to break the flow and make certain he or she is the only one talking.

When this type of caller gets going, it can be all but impossible to stop the ensuing rant. As a result, a conference call can feel more like a game of red light-green light as you struggle to get a word in edgewise. This type of behavior can also drag a call on for much longer than anticipated which can be tremendously unproductive.

Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to control this type of caller, short from having a strong moderator who is unafraid to slam a gavel down, call for order and move on to a more pressing issue when needed. Moderators can be useful for creating an agenda, sharing it beforehand and assigning time limits for each topic to eliminate potential issues related to time.

For the sake of maintaining client relations, however, strong arming a client into being quiet is typically frowned upon. Interrupting can be rude, meaning it’s sometimes best to let a person rant and follow up with important points in an email after the call.

On the other hand, have you ever been in a situation where you’ve purposely been the “out of control train” on a conference call? Can this strategy actually work sometimes in order to make a point?

Dennis CollinsDennis Collins is the director of marketing for Conferencing and Collaboration at InterCall. In this role, he directs a team that provides strategic marketing support for product launches, external communications, competitive positioning and channel/sales communications. His career spans a wide range of communications, marketing and operations experiences including being a digital video pioneer as well as spending 13 years with technology PR firm as partner and COO. Entrepreneur does not escape the list; Dennis also started his own ad agency and founded an award-winning gourmet dessert café.

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