Conference calls can be a mess!
Often, you’re dealing with bad tech, background noise, people popping on and off, dueling egos, and different time zones, as this video illustrates:
Pretty real-life, isn’t it!
But never fear: It is possible to get your point across, and these conference call tips will help you do that.
The Best Defense Is a Good Offense, So Plan Ahead
Good meetings have usually been planned, and that goes double for conference calls.
So if you’re the person who’s in charge, think carefully before the call about what you want to accomplish, and what role each participant can play. (If there’s no clear role for a meeting participant, why not release them to get something else done.)
If you’re not the person in charge, you can make your boss look good (that’s part of “managing up“) and make life easier for yourself by gently pushing for some thought before the call. Say something like,
I’d like to prepare for the call in advance. What do you think you’ll want me to cover?
If you’re not able to determine your role in advance, take your best guess of what it’s going to be.
Now you’re ready to…
Use These 5 Conference Call Tips
1. Practice Making Your Point
Know the points you want to make and practice them out loud before the call. This will give you confidence and help you find the clearest way to state your message.
Make sure, as you practice, to deliver your most important point first. That way, if you’re interrupted or distracted, you’ll know that at least you’ve gotten your main point across.
2. Anticipate Questions
In addition to thinking about what you want to say, try to anticipate the questions you might be asked.
Now practice answering them, using your knowledge of the Instant Speech format.
Be sure to practice answering the question first, and if there are questions that you dread or prefer not to answer, give them special attention. (‘Cause you know they’re going to come up!)
3. Close Your Eyes
Yes, I know this looks a little weird, but if you’re having trouble hearing people at the other end of a speaker phone, close you eyes (or at least look into the middle distance without focusing).
We all have a powerful visual sense. Shutting it off allows you to focus more fully on what you’re hearing — and that can make all the difference.
4. Stand Up
When it’s your turn to speak, try standing up. Standing up lets air and energy flow through your body; you’ll sound and feel more authoritative.
And if you ever again find yourself on a conference call in a room with other people, move as close as possible to the speaker phone when it’s your turn to talk. Standing near the speakerphone means you don’t have to shout to be heard. Instead, you can concentrate on speaking clearly and slowly, with good articulation.
5. Bring On The Drama
Speaking more dramatically (with emphasis, pauses, real energy in your voice) also makes you easier to hear.
And if you’re not a “naturally” dramatic speaker, this simple exercise will help you sound more exciting:
- Turn on a TV or radio show that has an announcer or host you like.
- Listen to them say one phrase and then imitate it out loud.
- Don’t worry about what you’re missing, just do your best to copy what you hear. Now do it again. Now do it again. (Just 30 seconds, 5 days a week, will give you outstanding results.)
You’ll be surprised at how dramatically your on-air model is speaking, even when they sound “natural.” Copying them will help you pick up the tricks they use to hold an audience’s attention.
Take Control of Your Conference Call Fate!
So there you have it.
You don’t have to just grin and bear your next conference call. Apply these conference call tips, and you will shine on every call.