Minneapolis, MN – Scientists at the University of Minnesota revealed the results of their groundbreaking study on conference call behavior, and they were able to clearly identify over 95% of all conversation to be nothing more than irrelevant chatter. The majority of the small talk served to primarily fill in the booked meeting length so that attendees wouldn’t have to return to work. The rest of the small talk was attributed to killing time waiting for Dan Pfeiffer to figure out how to use the dial-in code again.
Scientists culled through over 20,000 hours of conference calls across multiple companies, where they broke down each conversation minute-by-minute into constructive conversation, negotiation, disagreements, and completely irrelevant banter. Alexa Chun, head researcher, was shocked by how little useful dialog was produced, as well as the repetitive, predictable nature of it.
“Obviously we expected some small talk to happen during a conference call; it’s just human nature,” said Chun. “But it still amazes my team how much time is wasted on the same conversations. It’s like there’s an unwritten rule that every call has to start with each side describing the weather where they are, like no one has ever heard of rain before. I had no idea that everyone in an office is also a part-time meteorologist.”
Chun also saw a large overlap in discussions revolving sports teams, vacation plans, and TV recommendations.
“Holy s—, if I hear one more person recommend Stranger Things, I’m just going to burn my entire department to the ground.”