Roll call

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Conference Call Anatomy™

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A half-hour section of an industry call immediately following the period of joinder, during which the convener tries to identify for whom she has just blown that half-hour of her life waiting for, to dial in.

If the convener is lucky, the call will be richly attended by participants who are prepared to admit it. Even then, extracting those confessions will involve long periods of static, punctuated by five people speaking at once, and the convener will be obliged to ask them all to repeat themselves. As if guided by an invisible hand, each will at first delay, politely awaiting the others and, when no-one takes the offer, suddenly everyone will speak together again, creating exactly the same garbled confusion. This can be a jarring experience for a fledgling convener — but not as jarring as her experience when no-one has dialed in. That can be quite the self-awakening for the convener, as she finally grasps, in public, how little the rest of the world cares for her project.

There is a paradox here, though, because “the world” means those people on the call, and the worse attendance is, the fewer people there are to witness the humiliation.

Unless the person then blogs about it.

There was once this lawyer[1] who dialed into a law-firm presentation on SFTR via weblink. The law firm set it up so one could see all the attendees. There was only one. The presenters continued heroically, as if addressing the masses at Bannockburn, and even gamely opening the call to questions at the end.

Came there none.


  1. Names have been removed to protect my identity.