This article was brought to you by guest editor Jeff Oxford.
Preparation Is Key—Always!
It’s never a bad idea to come prepared for anything, and that includes conference calls. Take the time to gather all the information needed for a smooth-sailing call for all involved. Research if needed, and source your materials to further give your point weight. This will not only help with making the conference call much easier but will also build your confidence.
Familiarize Yourself with the Tech
Most of the time in videoconference calls, visual aids are necessary to drive a point home, and it is easy to get lost when you aren’t familiar with the devices used for the call. Take the time to learn and know how to navigate the tools used.
Tech devices such as the Cisco TelePresence System SX80 would be fairly easy to learn. One can maneuver it easily, and it enables the users a high-quality conference call experience. Familiarizing yourself with the gadgets will help avoid unnecessary blunders during the call.
Distribute a List and Agenda
Helping everyone to be on the same track during a conference call will make the call a quicker and smoother experience. Setting up and sending out an agenda that lists out what transpires during the call is a great way to set the focus on the topic. This also helps everyone to stay within the boundaries of the agenda and help prevent dragged-out calls.
Be on Time
Being punctual is a good practice for everything, including conference calls. It showcases you as a disciplined and dependable person who keeps your word. Not only is this a professional practice but it also gives you enough time to catch the initial jitters and nerves before the call starts.
Know When to Speak and Speak with Impact
Once it is your turn to speak make sure to pace and keep a good tone of your words to drive the point home. Good diction is a great indication of confidence.
Make sure to articulate your words properly and to maintain good posture as well as this will help the voice come out clear and loud. Speaking with emphasis and giving off good energy from your voice will make it easier for you to be heard and understood.
Jotting down information shared by those in the call will make things easier in case another call regarding the same topic will come up. Note-taking promotes active learning as well and is an effective practice to keep one attentive and focused.
Although most of the technology for videoconference calls now include the option to record such events, taking down notes will help give yourself a better understanding of what went on during the call.
Keep It Short and Concise
A conference call takes time off every participant’s day to do just that, so keeping it short and straight to the point will benefit all involved. The art of making any meeting short is preparation and helps to effectively convey the point across as well.
A short but quality meeting can be achieved with the help of visual aids and other materials. Just make sure the points addressed are understood by everyone by keeping each one engaged during the call.
Anticipate and Participate
As mentioned in the previous tip, keeping everyone engaged and participative will help everyone remember what transpired during the conference call. Anticipate and know how to sail through the waves of questions that may come during the call. Take the time to understand the question before answering so as to not confuse yourself and others when answering.
Encourage participation and engagement by inviting everyone to share their thoughts and ideas about the topic. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, and conference calls can achieve this same notion even when everyone is miles apart. Involvement between the participants helps create a better environment and promotes a good professional relationship.
These tips can go beyond conference calls as well as these will also be helpful in face-to-face meetings, public-speaking events, and other social gatherings that require talking to an audience.