Staying in Touch Through Phone Meetings
As your business grows and your client base expands, you’re probably finding it challenging to meet with everyone face-to-face.
How do you maintain the same level of intimacy and customer service in a world that’s becoming increasingly virtual?
Presenting over the phone is an excellent way to do this, but you need to make sure your phone presentations are well planned and executed, and that your telephone meeting skills are flawless.
Being able to communicate with people is critical in any business—whether it’s communicating externally to your customers or internally with your colleagues or partners.
I’ll admit, meeting in person has its advantages, but it can also hinder your workflow. And when you’re trying to bring together multiple people in several locations (none of them in your city or state), daily face-to-face meetings are impossible.
Phone and internet meetings allow you to connect with people in the next building or thousands of miles away. We’re living in an age of incredible communication technology, so why not use it to your advantage?
Benefits of Presenting Over the Phone
Not only does the phone allow you to present to anyone, anywhere in the world, it also provides you with the luxury of presenting in a familiar environment. That means you feel more relaxed and comfortable—which is always a good thing when you’re nervous about presenting your thoughts and ideas.
Plus, when you present over the phone, you’re forced to strip back to basics. Your words are what your listeners have to focus on, and that means your message can’t hinge on presentation slides or hand-outs.
How Do I Effectively Present Over The Phone?
Whether you’re meeting in person or connecting over the phone, you need to put together a solid format for your presentations—one that involves everyone who’s in on the call, so no one feels left out.
Remember, a productive meeting is one that’s well organized and allows each attendee to feel comfortable to participate and engage. You may be the call’s moderator, but the same rules apply in a phone presentation as in a face-to-face meeting: Your presentation is about them, not you.
Be prepared so the call can start on time. The best way to do this is for you to be early. If you send your attendees the meeting information in advance, everyone has time to figure out how to join the call in a timely manner. We all know what it’s like to be in a meeting where someone walks in late. It’s very distracting and can throw your presentation off.
Start by outlining how the phone conference will proceed, so everyone is prepared to receive your presentation and provide a meaningful contribution. Then move on to the presentation.
Phone Meeting Engagement
Before the advent of conference calls, the only way to meet was face to face. The benefit, of course, was that it allowed you to monitor visual cues and body language. Eye contact and gestures could help relay your message and engage your audience.
This is not the case in conference calls—particularly if they don’t involve any video. That means you need to get creative and use your words in ways that will hold your audience’s attention.
When you’re delivering a presentation through a conference call, the conversation can seem pretty one-sided. It’s important to constantly engage the people on the other end of the line.
For starters, keep in mind that sometimes your conference call will bring together people who don’t know one another. If that’s the case, use attendees’ names regularly. This will help everyone understand and keep track of what’s going on and who is speaking, and it will make each listener feel included.
Circle around to each participant throughout the call to make sure they feel included and that their contributions matter. (This will also keep them on their toes, so they don’t get distracted, drift off, or decide to check their emails during the conference call!)
Gesture With Your Voice
Your voice is the only way to communicate during a conference call; no one can see you point, cross your arms, or pick up on any other non-verbal communication. That means it’s all up to what you say and how you say it.
Here’s where proper enunciation, speaking speed, and pitch come into play. And believe it or not, a smile can be heard over the phone, too.
If you’re planning a conference call, practice your delivery by recording yourself without video so you can hear for yourself how well your message is transmitted when there is nothing to see.
Make Sure Your Message is Heard
There are plenty of conference call service providers out there—some with video capabilities and some without. Here are some things to take into account when you’re choosing a conference call provider:
- Excellent audio quality without any static interference. You shouldn’t have to repeat yourself or second guess what someone is saying during a call. If you have attendees getting disconnected or dropped from your conference call, that’s a big problem, too.
- Amazing support and customer service. Holding a phone meeting may be overwhelming the first few times you try it so it’s reassuring to know that you have a support team on hand to help you learn the ropes.
- Call recording functions. As important as your conference call presentation is, sometimes someone who’s supposed to be in on the call just can’t make it. If you’re hosting the call, you may want to choose a provider that offers the ability to record your call, so you can send the recording to anyone who couldn’t listen live. It can even be beneficial to give the recording to the people who were there in case there was something they missed.
The Conference Call: Meeting Up Anywhere
When you hear the words “public speaking” or “presentations,” it’s not usually a conference call that springs to mind. But as most business professionals can attest, it seems there are more things to do and places to be these days than there are enough minutes to do everything and be everywhere.
Conference calls are basically on-the-go presentations that you can make from virtually anywhere, as long as you have a phone. For that reason, it’s just as important to keep your telephone speaking skills sharp as it is to keep your presentation skills sharp. Sooner or later, the two are going to meet up and you’ll appreciate being prepared.