Telephone Stomping

Telephone stomping is the act of talking over someone else in the phone conversation. This is typically an accidental practice, but some persons use it to exercise power over the other members of the call.

Mobile Telephone Stomping

Cellular (mobile) phone technology has come a long way, but there is still an inherent issue with delays between devices that result in people stomping over each other in a conversation. One person starts talking, but the delay results in the other person talking at about the same time. Anyone with proper manners would stop talking and let the other person finish, while other person may stop talking under the same terms. After a moment of silence, they both say “I’m sorry, go ahead” at the same time. Then they both starting talking at the same time again. Sometimes an amusing dance, like in a hallway when two people incidentally meet and attempt to step aside in the same direction for the other party.

Conference System Stomping

Conference systems like AT&T, BT, Cisco Conferencing and similar providers tend to have a delay as the callers pass through their phone and computer systems. Similar to mobile telephone stomping, there is a common dance of stomping on conference calls, usually accentuated by mobile phone users and those on low-quality speaker phone technology.

Speakerphone Stomping

Avoid using speakerphone unless it’s full duplex.

Half-duplex speaker phones add to the fun with the person talking and not knowing someone else started talking, because they can’t hear the other person(s). Most speaker phones are half-duplex; only high-quality systems offer full-duplex on speaker phone, mainly due to the technology required to prevent feedback. Many of the full-duplex systems will have one or more microphones which separate from the base speaker and are most common in conference rooms.

Heavy Breathers

A thing of the past is the obscene phone call where the caller just breaths into the phone. Unfortunately, some people on the conference might breathe heavy into the phone causing noise that interferes with other people speaking in the call.

This is slightly overshadowed by the loud typer. You know, the person that is banging away at their computer keyboard during the conference call and everyone has to listen to the clack clack of their keyboard.

What to do

When in a conference room with other people present in the room, a full-duplex speakerphone should be used to allow the participants in the room to hear if someone on the call begins to speak.

If participating in a conference call and you are the only person calling from your line, then use the handset or a headset. Solo use of a speakerphone is rude, especially if using a poor quality half-duplex unit.

Put your phone on mute when you are not speaking. No one needs to hear you typing or breathing. You are just interrupting the meeting.

Proper etiquette should take over once the correct equipment is being used.

Some of the conference systems have a web interface that allow the organizer to control the participants, including volume control and mute. This can be useful for addressing the heavy breather and typer that don’t realize they are being a problem.

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