How good are your conference call skills? How do you keep the group’s attention, make your points powerfully and persuasively and still keep the call short? Check these ideas:
- Designate a call leader/group facilitator.
- Create an agenda if you’re the leader. Ask for an agenda if you aren’t.
- Be prepared. Know what points you want to make.
- Announce yourself immediately. Don’t lurk.
- Pre-sell your ideas. If you need allies, call them before the call.
- Say your name before speaking. Speak to a point only when you know who made the point.
- If you don’t recognize the voice and if they weren’t courteous enough to say their name, clarify, or stay quiet.
- If you know you need to leave the call early, ask the leader to announce it 5 minutes before you have to leave.
- Don’t make apologies and waste time if you need to leave the call early. Just go.
- Make your points quickly and only once.
- Let people finish their sentences.
- Use the words yes and to move to another thought.
- Keep control. If someone asks a question off topic, ask to discuss it at the end of the call.
- If you multi-task, don’t let them hear you or your other activity. That’s what the mute key is for.
- If you need a break, announce that you’ll be back in 5 minutes. Don’t gamble that no one will want your input while you’re in the bathroom.
- Ask the leader to send a follow-up email with action items and next steps.
And as someone once said, “don’t make me reach through this phone and slap you.”