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Why Conference Calls Are So Smart

If organizations want to succeed, they need to model their information sharing on the most sophisticated and efficient information processor on the planet: the human brain.

Every day, humanity makes 50 billion cellphone calls, and sends 300 billion emails. But just one person's brain sends more messages than that!

It sends about 10,000 times as many, every day. And all we need to do this is a muffin and a cup of coffee.

Our brains are this efficient because of the way they are wired. Unfortunately, office communication is not usually wired as intelligently as a human brain. This really holds organizations back. Information moves around, but it usually either moves just one way, or just between two people.

The reason conference calls are so smart is that they use the same system of moving information as your brain, so your information can be become ideas.

From Ponies to Pneumatic Tubes

In the bad old days, information moved very slowly, and it only travelled in one direction at a time. They don't call it snail mail for nothing.

It could take six weeks for a letter to cross the Atlantic, or to travel by Pony Express from San Francisco to New York. Then it would take another six weeks for the response to get back.

In the 1890ss, New York City thought it was making a real breakthrough by building a huge network of pneumatic tubes that connected post offices to train stations and even government offices.

They tested their system by sending a cat.

The cat survived, but luckily the inefficient system of moving information around did not.

Interconnected brain wiring

Brains move information completely differently. They can move it in two directions, almost at once, and they can share it widely.

This allows brains not just to move information, but also to think with it.

Numerous projects like The Human Brain Project, the Allen Human Brain Atlas, and the Whole Brain Catalogue are mapping out how brains move information around.

The study is called "Connectomics," which refers to how the brain makes its connections.

Apparently, we have 100 billion nerve cells. The trick is that each one is wired up to 10,000 other nerve cells.

Think of your work team as individual nerve cells. How far would you get if you weren't connected to the other team members?

How to have a meeting that "thinks"

The trouble with emails is that although they can connect the whole team at once, they only send the information one way at a time. Phone calls are better, because they are two-way communication, but they only connect up two of the team members at a time.

If you want your organization to think and act with the power of a human brain, use conference calls, because they not only send the information both ways, but they connect up all the team members at once. You aren't just disseminating information; you are cooking up ideas with it.

In the bad old days, meetings were something to which you “had to go."

Depending on the size of your organization, this could involve trains, planes and automobiles.  Whichever way you move people about, it always costs staff time and money. Even if you all work in one building, staff time is money.

Having everyone meet in one room is like using a pony to get a letter across a continent, or a pneumatic tube to transport a cat to Grand Central Station.

Brainy conference calls

Conference calls are efficient because they move the information around without moving the people. All you have to do to join a conference call is pick up your phone. When you are done, put your phone down and you are on to the next part of your day, charged up by your interactive connection with the other neurons in your "brain".

Conference calls are smart because they mimic the way the human brain works.

By connecting all their neurons in real-time, human brains transform little packets of information into amazing ideas. When you connect your team up all at once and let them interact, the sum becomes greater than the parts.

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