At last! Another opportunity to catch up on the backlog of outstanding work.
A teleconference! I dialed in, entered the meeting identification, my pin and spoke my name.
Then I placed my phone in hands-off mode and muted myself.
I knew I was safe because:
- I wouldn’t be asked to contribute
- I had very little to contribute
- I didn’t want to contribute
- I had a document to compose.
As people signed into the teleconference, I started to listen absently. As it continued, my attention wandered even more. Meanwhile people were dropping in and out. This meeting I thought was starting to resemble Tripp & Tyler’s A Conference Call In Real Life.
But once the momentum resumed, I every so often stopped what I was doing and jot down a few notes. I thought to myself this was a very unfocused conversation indeed. Perhaps a facilitator or mediator might help. Besides nearly everyone else was on a higher level than me. And as I discounted that idea chaos struck.
My phone began to blare hold music. I looked carefully at the console. No. None of the lights were flashing. I still was on mute and still connected to the conference.
As the participants realised what had happened, a dull and boring meeting had become a hunt for a culprit. Much like school roll call, one by one we re announced ourselves over the continuing hold music. I took two attempts as I had unmuted and then muted myself.
One person failed to respond. He had received another phone call mid conference. And in answering that call had placed the current call (us) on hold. He had to be contacted as soon as possible to continue the conference and save our sanity.
One of the participants suggested calling him. Which sounded contradictory until he added the words “on his mobile.” The meeting collectively held its breath (as best you can over Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries) and waited for the call to put through. No. He wasn’t answering his mobile either.
Which meant a physical intervention was required. Somebody must find this person and physically remove him from his phone. We waited a few minutes until this was organised.
“Are you near his desk? “Can you see him?” “Can you catch his attention?”
No to all questions.
“Can you go to his office and speak with him?”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
Once more we collectively held our breath (Ride of the Valkyries is a long piece of music) and waited. Upon his return the hold music still continued. The culprit was in his office on the phone and couldn’t be disturbed (in another teleconference).
This teleconference will be postponed until a later date and time…