Conference calls: The best and the worst

A screenshot from ConferenceCall.biz

The conference call: A ubiquitous part of office life, but not exactly the most celebrated. Most people find them tedious and complicated, full of technical difficulties and miscommunication. 

But Zach Scott, a Washington D.C.-based artist, found them inspirational: "When I first encountered conference calls, they were really novel to me, and I thought they were really funny."

So, Scott decided to immortalize the conference call. He created an audio feed on his website, ConferenceCall.biz, with common tropes repeated on a conference call played on loop, in random order. His friends provided voices:

"Steve, is that your dog we're hearing?"

"Is anyone else... here? Is it just me? Hello?"

"I know we're going over on time here, but there's one more important item I want to make sure we cover."

"I'm going to be out of pocket all next week, so if you can maybe ping me sometime after that, we can work this out."

"This deliverable has been overdue and over budget for month."

And, you'll hear this familiar voice too:

For Scott, conference calls are something "people endure on a regular basis, but no one really talks about outside of work."

He's gotten a lot of responses to the website on social media. He says a lot of people tell him, "'I don’t know whether to laugh or cry...' and that’s exactly what I intended."

This got us thinking (we have a lot of conference calls around here). What was your worst conference call ever? Tweet us @MarketplaceAPM or in the comments below.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

A screenshot from ConferenceCall.biz

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