In today’s increasingly mobile workplace, a lot can happen during a phone call – deals can be made, incredible ideas can be shared, sensitive negotiations can be conducted – or none of these things can happen because the people on the phone don’t know how to communicate energy, enthusiasm, commitment and courtesy. Trust me, I know.
Over the years, I’ve participated in thousands of conference calls. I can tell you with some authority that conference calls can be really tedious. There’s always someone who isn’t paying attention, someone else typing too loudly, and the call is nearly always too long. It’s these breaches of etiquette that led us to launch our ban on anti social behavior during conference calls earlier this year.
Making a good impression on the phone goes beyond basic courtesy. It’s really about communicating your interest, engagement and commitment to the discussion. As more business is conducted by phone, the ability to make a good impression is becoming an important skill to master. Here are some tips to consider before you dial into your next conference call.
Start with the right service – If you’re hosting a conference call, it’s important to use a quality conference service. Whichever service you choose, be sure it portrays professionalism. The conference service you select should offer no-hassle dialing, introduce all parties and provide crisp service like we do at Powwownow. Look for services that offer call recording, web conferencing or an iPhone app, services we provide absolutely free for all of our Powwownow customers.
Use an agenda – You wouldn’t host a face-to-face meeting without an agenda, right? For a conference call, it’s important to plan the discussion and goals in advance just as you would for a meeting in the boardroom. Develop your agenda in advance and share it with all participants then move quickly through each item to keep the discussion on track and all attendees engaged.
Don’t interrupt – Everyone’s contribution is equally important on a call, but it’s crucial to be a good listener. Keep quiet until the person speaking has finished, but be ready to jump in. Without visual cues, it can be difficult to inject your thoughts before someone else does.
Keep it quiet – Your customers or colleagues should never wonder where your attention is focused. Whether you’re dialing in from a home office or workplace, it’s important to convey the same focus and attention to the discussion as you would in the boardroom. Try to avoid or mute background noise, other people talking, or the dog barking as much as possible.
Turn it off – Just as if you’re in an in-person meeting over coffee or in a boardroom, all your attention should be focused on the people and conversation on the call. Turn off email, Facebook and any other distraction that might keep you from being an active and engaged participant. Dedication shows, whether face-to-face or via airwaves!
Stand up – That’s right, I said stand up when you’re talking on the phone. Sitting back in your chair automatically signals your body to relax. Your posture slumps, and before you know it, your chin is sinking toward your chest. This causes your energy level to plummet and your voice to become muted. Standing up gets your blood flowing, keeps your chest upright and your lungs expanded. You immediately feel and sound more energetic and that energy is conveyed to everyone on the call.
Smile – You’re probably starting to think I’m some sort of yogi spiritual quack, but I’m completely serious. Smile while speaking and your voice projects more clearly, with more energy, and yes, with a smile that’s contagious.
See and Be Seen – Video conferencing is another option for those who want to see the people they’re speaking with. Webcam technology is getting better all the time, and there are many good, affordable video conference services available. Try www.megameeting.co.uk, I use this for video whilst I am having a Powwownow.
Making an impression over the phone is easier than you might think. It’s making a good impression that takes a little effort. I’ve shared some ideas gleaned from my own experience and tips from some of our loyal Powwownow customers, and would love to hear your advice too. How do you make a good impression on the phone?