The Lighter Side of Telephony


We've all experienced them in the workplace: embarrassing moments when we are awkwardly caught off guard, that make us want to cringe! Sometimes the cause can be a technical issue or sometimes, a glaring honest mistake can happen. Have you ever been on a video conference call and forgotten your client can see every move or eye roll? Or have you recorded a message that can be easily misconstrued? Or, inadvertently set up a conference call for participants with the wrong number to call?

"Gary's chicken farm, how can I help you?" was the response received by two bankers, three attorneys, two clients, the 'deal closer' and the humiliated employee's boss when they placed the call, shares Lauren Hargrave, in her winning essay on Workplace Disasters. Can you imagine?? Click here to read Lauren's essay.

Video Conferencing

Perhaps most embarrassing are the faux pas that occur when video conferencing. In her April 13, 2012 article,Top Five Video Conferencing Faux Pas and How to Avoid Them, Jacey Overton, Corporate Communications Manager of LifeSize cites the most common gaffes made by novices:

  1. Distracting workspaces
  2. Unintended facial expressions
  3. Inappropriate wardrobe choices 
  4. Lunch malfunctions 
  5.  Side commentary snafus

Essentially, anything inappropriate for others to see and hear, will be seen and heard if you've not taken care to appear 100% professional before and during the call.

Conference participants should also "beware of the mute button!" warns a reader of her article. "Many video participants mute/unmute frequently during a video call. Make 100% sure that you are muted before you make any comments that you'll regret." Take heed. Even whispered comments can be heard.

Speakerphone Etiquette

Julie Webb, Marketing Communications Director at Digium, shared a great blog post titled Business Communications: Top 7 List of Common Mistakes. Her tips are reminders of what not to do while using speakerphone. When using this feature, we are unaware of how magnified the sounds are on the receiving end. Below is an abbreviated version of Julie's speakerphone etiquette tips:

  1. Tell all parties involved they are on speaker phone
  2. Don't assume everyone knows who is on the call 
  3. Mute your phone if in a public area
  4. Don't multi-task while using speakerphone
  5. Refrain from side conversations
  6. Avoid loud snacks, smacking gum or any other loud noises
  7. Don't shout into the speakerphone

Perhaps you've had a similar (or not so similar) telecommunications 'blooper' occur on the job you've had a good laugh over? Send it along - we'd love to hear it. Your story could be featured in our next newsletter. Email me at

Remember, We are always looking for a better way to Give Your Network a Voice!®.


Michael LeBlanc, Founder and CEO
LeBlanc Communications Group, Inc.