When you’ve got a team of people who don’t work in close proximity to you, it’s almost impossible to avoid the conference call. A few years ago, when remote working was a new concept, conference calls were seen as the way to make sure your remote team remained engaged with office culture and collaboration.
Now – just like most other means of communication that stem from the 90’s – they’re overused, misused, and often seen as a waste of time. But with a few tweaks in how you strategize, run, and follow up on your conference calls, you’ll hear the engagement happen.
Be conversational. This one is the most important, in my mind. Nothing irks me more than hearing someone reading from a script or a piece of paper. We can all read, and honestly, I’d have better comprehension reading something myself instead of listening to you stumble over the words because you’re nervous. So let’s just give this hour back, you send your script and I’ll get hold of you if I have any questions. OR – you could prepare for the call and be able to genuinely speak about something in a conversational, easy-to-understand tone that keeps me interested.
Adjust your tone/facial expressions. You have to be overly excited on the phone to come across as even remotely engaged. Raise your eyebrows, direct your comments completely at the phone, and keep your voice level up. This will make your audience feel like you are completely engaged in the conversation and will communicate total confidence in your subject matter.
Send pre-reads enough in advance so people can actually pre-read. Any documents that you plan to refer to throughout the conversation should be sent ahead of time so that everyone can peruse before the call. Be sure to provide specific instructions and purpose for each of the documents so that your audience isn’t spending unnecessary time on unnecessary information.
Encourage dialogue. I get it – it’s super awkward to have a bunch of people start talking at the same time. But dialogue is SO IMPORTANT when you’re conducting a conversation over the phone. Come up with a strategy for sending the virtual “talking stick” around the call. Consider calling on specific team members or regions to comment first.
Have you had one of “THOSE” conference calls? You will definitely enjoy this video!
What are you doing to make conference calls and virtual meetings work for your team? Tell us in the comments!