Many jobs require us to make telephone calls continually throughout the day, often with multiple people at once. During these calls, you may be expected to accomplish critical tasks including to present crucial information pertaining to your company’s bottom line, address pertinent legal matters and discuss important project and task completion items. While speaking on the telephone and simultaneously multitasking, it may seem like the best way to do these things would be to utilize a tool that all of us are familiar with; the speaker phone. This way, you can shuffle through papers, find the proper information, and report back easily to whomever you are on the phone with. However, this is a critical mistake that many people in the workplace often make.
Although it may seem convenient, using a speakerphone while taking calls in the office can lower the quality of your call dramatically; making it harder for both you and your team to communicate. In addition, because of ambient office noise that speaker phone microphones often pick up, conversations are less clear and critical information may need to be repeated or explained multiple times, resulting in longer discussions and loss of productivity.
1. Sound Interfaces
An office space is never truly silent. Speakerphones are engineered to capture every little sound from a 5 to 20-foot radius. Therefore, small noises or far away voices are still captured in your conversation, making it hard for the other person to hear you clearly. Even smaller sounds such as a printer or keyboard clicks are captured clearly by your speakerphone, and could potentially be very distracting. In addition, speaker phones are also affected by the low levels of electromagnetic radiation that are produced by electrical devices including computers, servers, printers and other electrical devices so if you’re using a speaker phone and your office is located close to your computer or electrical room, good luck.
Lastly, using your speakerphone, especially when there are other noises in the background, can make you seem distant and uninterested. If you are on the phone with a customer or your boss, this could have very unfavorable consequences.
While taking a conference call, if you decide to move to an isolated room you may think your problems with noise interference are solved. But, this could potentially cause an even bigger problem with acoustics, commonly referred to as “echo”. As previously stated, speakerphones are designed to capture sound anywhere from 5 to 20 feet radius. If you are in an enclosed room with walls that have a hard, reflective surfaces, your caller may experience a terrible echo that could be even worse than the small distracting noise interferences. Echos can cause your listener to completely not hear a word you are saying, hearing instead a harsh, booming echo. This makes it extremely difficult to communicate any information whatsoever, defeating the entire purpose of the call.
3. Space Crunch
Sure, speakerphones might seem like a simple way to include everyone at the office in a conference call, but if your company doesn’t invest in the loudest speakerphone, it may be hard for everyone to hear at once. Also, if you are taking a speakerphone call, you might relocate to a smaller more enclosed space to be more conscious of your fellow team members not included in the call. However, relocating to a smaller space to take this call may make it hard for everyone to speak directly into the phone and be heard clearly due to space constraints.
4. Speakerphone Etiquette
One of the most inconsiderate things you could possibly do at your office is use your speakerphone, on the highest volume, in a space that you share with multiple employees. Not only are you disturbing your fellow employees, but you are being very inconsiderate towards the person you’re on the phone with, who’s conversation is now being shared with your entire office. If you absolutely must use the speakerphone in your office space, begin the conversation by alerting the person on the other line that you are on speakerphone, so that they can be conscious of what information they tell you. But please keep in mind, that even if you use proper speakerphone etiquette, it is still inconsiderate to your fellow team members around you who are attempting to do their work in peace.
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