Mobile phones are one of the most successful, rapidly-accepted and deployed technologies ever. For all they can do, mobile phones are relatively cheap, functional and easy to use.
It’s no wonder that virtually everybody in the developed world has a mobile phone. In fact, there’s over four billion of them in use today.
What business professional haven’t you seen yapping away on their mobile with a client?
In the US, there are well over twice as many mobile phone subscriptions as landline subscriptions, and many people are abandoning their landlines.
That’s because when compared to its predecessor, the landline, mobile phones hold many key advantages that you’ve likely experienced first-hand. They are powerful, pocket-sized computers with a diverse range of capabilities.
There’s a catch…
Unfortunately, mobile phones aren’t always the best choice for making a business telephone call.
|Poor Audio Quality: Mobile phones deliver relatively poor audio quality. In order to make efficient use of scarce radio spectrum, the audio signal is highly compressed before it is transmitted. This degrades the sound in a manner that simply isn’t present on higher-quality landline connections.|
|Interference: The wireless environment is far more prone to interference. Wireless conditions are constantly changing and a good connection can go bad in an instant, through no action of the end-user.|
|Background Noise: Because they CAN be mobile, people use them in challenging situations, such as on a train, in an airport or outside on the street. Generally these situations are much noisier than a typical business office, and the phone picks up some (or all) of that noise.|
|Low Quality Mics & Speakers: Mobile users often prefer “hands-free” operation (due to personal preference or laws or needing their hands for something else). Mobile speakerphones and some mobile headsets (especially wireless ones) can further impair the audio quality. Some mobile devices are just plain cheap, and their microphones and speakers are not comparable to business class (wired) telephones.|
Considering Call Duration
Now mobile isn’t all bad – it’s great for short conversations and messaging. We’ve all had a brief conversation to check directions or dispatch voicemails, confirm a meeting or get the grocery order.
Statistics show that the vast majority of mobile calls last just a few minutes.
Conference calls are very different from the typical mobile call. They generally run longer – 30 to 60 and even 90 minutes. Some go for hours.
On a conference call the nature of the discussion tends to be more in-depth, requiring a greater need for comprehension. You’re not asking about picking up some milk, you’re pitching someone on buying the farm.
Such calls are often with people that don’t know you, aren’t familiar with your style of speech, your accent or perhaps some of the terminology you’ll be using.
As a result, using mobile phones for conference calls brings:
- Reduced audio quality that makes comprehension and understanding of material being discussed more difficult. Participants strain to understand what’s being said and are distracted by poor audio.
- Greater potential for call disconnection due to poor range or wireless signal. Longer calls increase the chances of a disconnection mid-meeting, creating an unnecessary distraction and delay in the discussion.
These factors are troubling when one of the participants is on a mobile. If there are several mobile participants, these issues compound.
Make Lasting Impressions
The result can be a whole host of negative impressions for you and your business:
- Lack of comprehension or understanding on calls destroys attendee engagement, limiting what can be accomplished and the subsequent return on time invested. Ineffective meetings hurt productivity, slowing progress on projects, often leading to missed deadlines.
- Difficulties or disconnections during a call makes everyone work harder. From the initial distraction of a noisy connection, to the disruption when a disconnected party tries to rejoin the call, the experience is the opposite of “that was pleasant.”
- All of this reflects poorly on your business, making you appear indifferent to the experience of others working with you.
The Solution: Thinking Ahead
So what’s a business professional to do when faced with an important call? Awareness that your mobile phone is a problem implies that you’re already on a path to a solution. Consider these three simple steps:
- Plan ahead to make sure you’re not forced to use your mobile phone to join the conference call, especially when presenting to a new client or group of people.
- Use a traditional landline or a reliable VoIP line that will provide consistently acceptable audio without worry.
- If you need to be hands-free, invest in a high-quality headset or conference phone to ensure crisp, professional sound.
If you are joining the conference just to LISTEN, a mobile phone can be a good choice. If you’re comfortable with the potential of sub-par audio and occasional drops, your decision won’t have a big impact on the other attendees. Be sure to mute your connection so you don’t send background noise into the meeting.
ZipDX incorporates some great features for mobile users. The system can call you at meeting time and put you into your meeting without any codes. If you get dropped, dialing back in is a breeze because ZipDX can recognize your number and automatically put you back where you belong. The meeting host sees an online indication of who’s using a mobile connection, so they can be warned of the potential for interruptions.
Mobile phones are a tremendous convenience. Whether you are leading the meeting, or just one of the audience, a simple awareness of their strengths and weaknesses lets you select the most appropriate way to join the call.