Late for a (Phone) Meeting



My new office is on the ninth floor of a 10-floor office building in town and while there is an elevator – and it usually works — I’ve been taking the stairs anyway. Every time I do, I think of this (above) scene from Mad Men so I thought I’d share it here with you. Among the many things I have learned from those guys at Sterling and Cooper: Do not take the stairs after a 6-martini, 3-dozen-oyster, and double-helping-of-cheesecake lunch — especially if I’m late for a phone meeting. But then I (unfortunately) don’t have Don Draper egging me on.

In addition to digitizing all that can be made immaterial in the past few weeks, I have been squirreling away office gadgets to celebrate my transition to more corporate environs. Yesterday I broke out my new VOIP headset to take for a spin and I am happy to report that I am very pleased. (I cover VOIP rather thoroughly in my book if you want a deeper explanation.) I think I have mentioned here that I use a Skype phone for almost everything? It’s cheap, portable and full of features the Ma Bell variety never brought. The puzzle of Skype – and any VOIP phone service – is not in using it but in getting the phone accessory that makes it work for your personal situation. There are phones that operate without a computer, cheap headsets that plug into the mike and speaker ports on your computer, headsets that plug into the USB port, and wireless headsets. I have been hankering for the latter.

I like wireless because I like to walk around while on the phone. My new office has a terrific view and I like to enjoy it. And being in motion helps me to be articulate. But when it comes to headsets, wireless can mean a lot of things — many of them synonymous with crappy sound. At this point, most people assume Bluetooth wireless when I say “headset.”

I have tried a number of Bluetooth wireless headsets and have yet to find one that delivers the sound quality I need in my office. Don’t get me wrong! I love my tiny Bluetooth headset. I installed a Bluetooth dongle to my desktop and downloaded a bit of software and now that jewelry-sized ear bud answers my Skype phone or my cell phone. (I think I look like a dork when I’m wearing it but my kids are always very impressed.)  I don’t have to fumble around to switch headsets to answer the phone or sit still while I’m talking. It’s way convenient and I use it frequently. But the sound quality is not up to my standards. When I’m doing a phone interview or any lengthy, important conversation, I always switch to my old standby corded headset.

But I recently got a Jabra GN9350e to try out. It uses 6.8 kHz frequency cordless phone wireless technology and operates with a VOIP phone or a standard phone. It will even work with both my desk phone (if I had one) and my Skype phone at the same time.

It was effortless to set up. I plugged the base into a USB port, plugged the power into the wall, charged the headset, and told Skype to use it instead of my old corded headset. The hardest part was deciding how I wanted to wear it. But the beauty part is the sound quality. It is outstanding from every corner of my (not very big) office. At nearly $400 (list) this is a serious business indulgence. But since I pay almost nothing for my phone (Skype is $3 a month for unlimited calling in the US and Canada), I figure I’m still way ahead of the game.

10 thoughts on “Late for a (Phone) Meeting

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  2. The Jabra 9350e is the best headset on the market. I destroys the CS55.

  3. Bluetooth headset technology is improving every day. I would definitely make sure that whatever headset you are using has some sort of noise cancellation, like the Jawbone’s NoiseAssasin.

    For Bluetooth office systems, I’ve had much better experience with Sennheiser than Jabra. The Sennheiser VMX office is tiny and so far has the best Bluetooth sound in a small headset.

    However, you can go wireless without Bluetooth, the Plantronics CS55 is what I use everyday with my desk phone and it’s got fantastic sound quality. Even better than on my handset.

    Jawbone Bluetooth Headsets
    Plantronics Headsets
    Sennheiser VMX Office

  4. Like you, my experience with the wireless accessories has led me to just one word to describe most of them- crappy. Of course, I have and use a Bluetooth headset with my cell phone and it serves the purpose well. I have heard Jabra has excellent products but at that price I won’t be trying this one, LOL. I, too, have Skype but I seldom think to use it. For one, I just have the computer-to-computer plan, and secondly with my type of internet connection (satellite broadband) Skype is rumored to be less than perfect.

    But- you have planted new ideas in my head. I may try to start using my Skype more often.

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