Teleconferencing benefits businesses by bringing people in remote locations together. However, the drawbacks associated with using this utility may outweigh its worth in some cases. Risks associated with teleconferences include technical glitches, impersonal atmosphere, distracted attendees and reduced creativity.

Please Stand By

Technical difficulties are common issues when holding a teleconference. Problems may arise with video, audio or both. Losing the connection is frustrating for you and those with whom you are in conference, and important points may be lost or misheard as the result of poor acoustics or a scratchy phone line.

Uncomfortable Conversations

Teleconferencing can make for uncomfortable conversations, particularly when the participants don't know each other well. It is difficult to engage in heavy conversations such as negotiating contract terms when participants are not in the same room. The impersonal feel also can cause participants to hold back their ideas and suggestions because of uncertainty of how they will be received.

Multitasking Drains Attention

An unfortunate consequence of teleconferences is that participants tend to lose focus. Attention wanes, attendees may be distracted by other tasks, and key stakeholders may find they miss important information because they were multitasking when that part of the conversation took place. Getting everyone on the call doesn't guarantee that they'll be paying attention, and it's not easy to tell from a distance how engaged participants are in the discussion.

Learning Interference

Those who are intuitive learners, rather than visual or auditory ones, are particularly affected by the technical means of meeting. These individuals find it difficult to relate without the benefit of personal interaction, as they rely on cues such as hand motions and body language often not discernible in a teleconference. It is sometimes difficult to tell who is speaking and, too often, people are talking over one another so that everything is jumbled.