How to not screw up a phone conference


If you’ve ever read one of my blogs or attended one of my time management keynotes or workshops, you know that I’m all about saving time in order to lower stress levels and be more at peace. I’m a firm believer in learning from mistakes and mishaps, so take heed.

Money Magazine contacted me for an interview. Daniel Bortz is a journalist who was writing an article for the magazine about how to make it possible to take time off work and actually have a vacation. (The eventual title was “How to Unplug from Work” – see below for the article.) Awesome! Those are two of my favorite topics – time management and vacation.

I emailed Daniel my availability – dates and times when I had access to a land line or a cell phone. He chose one of my cell phone availabilities. No problem. I’d previously received several important phone calls in the location for the date and time he’d chosen, so I knew that other than prepping for the tme management topic, I was good to go.

On the day of the phone conference, I arrived thirty minutes early to the location. I entered the building of this location and used the restroom, chilled out, and got centered. Fifteen minutes before the interview, I went back to my car – a more “sound proof” location – and tested my cell phone. My display showed a cell signal, and I was even able to engage in a quick Twitter conversation with Dan Beyer of Fox Sports News, just to lighten the mood. I was relaxed and ready to go for another media interview.

I began staring at my phone display at two minutes before the scheduled call. I was ready. As soon as Daniel called, I would punch the button to take the call.

The conference time rolled around. No call. Hmmm. Was he late? Or did something come up?

5 minutes after conference time – still nothing.

I decided to pop into email to see if he’d sent a message. I discovered a voicemail from him. He’d called right on the dot, yet my phone didn’t ring. What the heck?!? I immediately called him back. Or, at least, I tried to. I had no cell service. Holy. Crap. I just missed a phone call for an important media interview!

I drove about a half mile away from where I’d been parked. This location was a bit higher – in case that made a difference. I called his number again. This time it rang through! I apologized profusely and explained what had just happened. Fortunately, he was understanding, so the interview went forward as planned. I was so lucky; not everyone is that accommodating.

I thought I was prepared because I’d prepped the topic, was in a quiet location from which I’d accepted calls before, and was centered and ready to go. But, I’d skipped a step – testing out the phone line. Mobile technology is great – when it works. And since it doesn’t work 100% of the time, be sure to plan ahead for that.

Time management workshop tip:

Based on this experience, here’s my advice for getting ready for a phone conference on your mobile phone:

  1. Confirm the interview date and time 24-48 hours prior.
  2. Confirm who will call whom and at what number.
  3. Get to the location early and double check your phone capabilities. (Make a phone call!)
  4. Have a Plan B in case the location you’ve chosen is not conducive to your phone conference.


By the way, the interview went well. Click here to read Daniel’s article in Money Magazine.

In case that link ever disappears, here’s the PDF from the online article: How to Unplug From Work _ Money Magazine

and here’s the PDF of the physical magazine article: How to Unplug From Work _ Money Magazine – scan of physical article


For more productivity tools and tips from time management workshop presenter and keynote speaker Helene Segura, click here.

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