Improve Your Conference Calling Effectiveness By Limiting Membership

“Less is more”, a phrase from the 1855 poem “Andrea del Sarto, called 'The Faultless Painter'” by Robert Browning, also has relevance when applied to the way effective business managers utilize our conference services. Two Rivers Conferencing offers its clients abundant capacity and with that the ability to conduct conference events connecting dozens or hundreds of participants onto a single conference event. It may then surprise our readers to learn that our average conference call connects five parties and lasts fifty minutes! It is for this reason our TRC corporate logo incorporates four "conference stick figures" surrounding the "i" in Conferencing! We accept this performance metric as a part of our operating reality but wonder why so many customers working in various industries with varying numbers of employees perform so consistently at or near this average.

We have come to believe over time that the answer has less to do with technology than with the optimal group size for decision making. Our search for an answer led us to an article published on the Internet by President Sheila L. Margolis, PHd of the Workplace Culture Institute titled “What is the optimal group size for decision making?” In that article Ms. Margolis observes that the “collective intelligence” of a work group is correlated with the average social sensitivity of group members, the equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking, and the proportion of females in the group. She then provides research results on member satisfaction studies that indicate the optimum group size to be 4.6 members!

You may read the entire article at to determine if changes are required in the number of team members selected for inclusion on an important task or business problem solving assignment. A change may be needed if your conference events are not producing effective solutions or team members express agreement with one of the following statements:

  1. This group was too small for best results on the task it was trying to do.
  2. This group was too large for best results on the task it was trying to do.

We strongly believe that limiting membership is the best way to improve the effectiveness of our customers' conference events and will enable more companies to achieve more with less!

February 24, 2014 | Categories: , ,


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