Why Am I on Speakerphone?

Recently, I’ve been involved in a number of conversations where I’ve been put on speakerphone. Is this a trend or are people trying to send me a message?

Okay. If there is more than one person in the room, speakerphone is a no-brainer. If someone is driving while they are talking to me, again, I get it. Speakerphone or Bluetooth communication is the right choice when safety is a factor. I, myself, have Bluetooth in my helmet so that when I’m on my motorcycle and get a phone call that I choose to answer (a rare occasion, so you can save your finger wagging), I can speak without taking my eyes off of the drivers whose sole purpose in life is to kill me.

There is a time and a place for speakerphone use. On hold with Best Buy, the IRS, or your cable company? Go ahead.

What I don’t get are the people who use the office speakerphone to have a one-on-one conversation. The logic of that one eludes me.

Now, I am certainly no VIP but I believe that simply having a pulse makes me “I” enough to warrant the use of a handset.

Are you using the speakerphone? I don’t mean while speaking to me (I have a simple strategy for dealing with those who do—see below). I am referring to conversations you might be having with customers, vendors, and fellow salespeople. What are you doing with your hands that is so important that you can’t cradle the phone? What reason can you give for sending the message, “You are not important enough for me to be clear enough to understand?”

Sitting in front of someone, you are easily able to ascertain whether that person is present to you. Their body language, and in particular, their eyes, tell you if they are engaged or if they’ve checked out. Over the phone, it’s more difficult, but use of the speakerphone is an almost automatic, “I’m not listening to you” message. Is that really what you’re trying to say?

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  • Don Huttlin


    Love the post!

    This is also one of my pet peeves. Speakerphones have their place (as you’ve described), but not in a one to one conversation.

    Seems to me that the individuals that have a need to use speakerphones for individual calls (outside of the above conditions) have some issues.


  • Carl Gerhardt

    Guilty as charged! I often do this when dialing someone but often pick up the handset shortly after they answer…..if they are important enough. At times I do find it convenient to keep it on speaker when looking at papers or computer screen for information that applies to the call. As i think about it perhaps the better approach is to simply ask the person on the other end of the line….do you mind if I keep you on speaker so if you get boring I can…….just be polite about it.
    I know, get a head set if I feel it is that important but I don’t live on the phone. And, I am an "executive", it’s below my pay grade to run around with a headset on .j(
    So finally I say….."get over it Bill"….just give us some good rules to follow.
    Okay, I know you did this to post a fun topic to expose our personalities and increase your readership….as if you weren’t the most read already.(j

  • Roger Buck

    Agreed they have their place. Personally, I like a head set as it’s a compromise. I get what I want…ie handsfree and my contact gets what he wants….clarity. Yes I"ve used (use) the speaker option, but before I do, I call my voice mail and leave a recording then play it back to see how it sounds. Depending on if i’m in my office, conference room or my cell phone…it changes. It’s like calling your voice mail to hear your own recording so you know what your customers are going to hear.

  • Doug Still, MBA

    If you feel compelled to go hands free in the office when making calls alone, I recommend investing in a headset. Best investment i’ve ever made. Makes marathon cold-calling a snap!!!

  • Doug Still, MBA

    Also, great idea on the muffled chatter to get them to pick up!! Too funny!