Surviving Conference Calls

Spacing out and dozing off is even easier to do during conference calls than face-to-face meetings. But conference calls are just as important for your long distance employees or clients. They deserve just as much of your attention and enthusiasm as those you meet with face-to-face. Just because conference calls are equally as important doesn’t mean you’re equally as awake. Sitting still and listening to an invisible person talk requires very little energy. Your heart rate might slow down, causing your blood flood to decrease, causing you to feel drowsy and your eyes to start closing. 


Here are some tips to help you stay awake during those boring calls:



  • Make yourself uncomfortable. When you’re nice and cozy in your chair its very easy to doze off. Try lowering the temperature in the room by opening a window or turning down the thermostat. Your body will have to circulate more blood to keep you warm thus, sending more blood to your brain and keeping you awake. Another way to get your blood flowing is to stand up. Sitting requires less energy and less blood flow while standing up and moving around will force your heart to work a little harder. If you must sit, choose an uncomfortable chair that does not recline.
  • Participate. When you have something valuable to contribute, don’t be afraid to chime in! Make eye contact with the people in the room and paraphrase what the speaker is saying in your head. Write down what you paraphrased and take as many notes as you can. Doodle in the margins in you have to, but be aware of who is watching you.
  • Give yourself a massage. Not a soothing, help yourself to relax kind of massage! Massage pressure points that will increase your blood flow. Try squeezing the muscles in between your thumb and first finger, rubbing the base of your skull, or kneading the spot below your knee.
  • Snack. When your brain is ready to turn off, turn it back on by chewing something. A sugary or fatty snack will give you the temporary boost you need to keep your keep your brain on during the meeting. Apples have a natural caffeination that keep you awake just as well as coffee. Try eating an apple before the meeting so you don’t distract everyone with the loud crunching. Or try eating an orange. Citrus and mint aromas help keep your brain focused as well as reduce frustration and anxiety.
  • Excuse yourself. When the other methods don’t work, don’t embarrass yourself by face planting on the conference room table. Excuse yourself and go to the bathroom. Take the long way, stop and talk to someone, do whatever you have to do to help your blood start flowing again! Splash some cold water on your face and swish it around in your mouth. Make yourself a piping hot coffee and bring it back with you. Sometimes burning your tongue on the coffee will wake you up faster than the caffeine!



Although you may just be tired regardless of your conference call, the call may be the really boring part. Rate that meeting with This Meeting Sucks! Documenting the reasons the conference call rocked or sucked will help you see if there’s a pattern of reasons that conference calls suck. The more people from your organization that rate meetings, the more accurate your organization’s ratings will be! Tell your colleagues about This Meeting Sucks! and have more meetings that rock!