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Attention Spans for Conference Calls Vary Across the Globe


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April 04, 2011

Attention Spans for Conference Calls Vary Across the Globe

By Tammy Wolf, TMCnet Web Editor

What’s your attention span while on a conference call? Do you respond to e-mails and tend to other unrelated work? Do you tune everyone out and doodle, or, better yet, fall asleep?

A study spanning five countries across the U.K., Singapore, Germany, India and Spain has revealed the biggest offenders for not paying attention while on these potentially important conference calls, according to an article in The Financial Express. India is deemed the “straight-A” video conferencing participant, and gets a gold star in a “classroom” full of distracted conference call users.

A whopping 96.4 percent of Indians surveyed said they are “more likely to make business decisions if I am able to see the person/people I am dealing with.” Possessing an attention span of an admired 30 minutes on video conference calls, Indians beat out all the other surveyed countries, except for Singapore, which boasted they could handle a straight 37 minutes of face-to-face dialogue.

“It is generally believed that Indians typically like to do business with people they know. Someone they can see; or meet with in person,” said Shali Thilakan, managing director of India for Cable & Wireless (News - Alert) Worldwide. “There is also the ‘trust factor’ that Indians get once they see the person they are dealing with. And this all comes easy on video conferencing.”

However, there was a trend seen throughout the study: Attention span rockets once a caller is face-to-face with another during a conference call. For U.K. employees, they begin to lose focus after 23 minutes on a telephone conference call, but don’t start to get sidetracked until after an average of 35 minutes on a video conferencing call. But, for one-on-one calls, they only last about nine minutes before they start nodding off. Germans come next, giving their full attention for 16 minutes on normal phone calls.

It’s not all about the talk, though. According to the study, 98.4 percent of Indians give priority to physical appearance and body language, tending to their outer appearance and clothing before a face-to-face conference call. First impressions, of course, are everything.

In 2010 and continuing into this year, organizations have been proactive in investing in unified communications and collaboration tools to create unlimited access to video conferencing and conference calling. Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) also noted high sales and marketing trends in the video conferencing industry last year, giving way to increased business through high-definition systems. And this market has shown no sign of stopping, as companies are increasingly boosting their video conferencing solutions.

Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet copy editor. She also writes articles for TMCnet on a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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