We rely more and more on conference calls to come together from different locations when air travel is not feasible. Conference calls are convenient but can be dreadfully boring and uninspiring. Without the benefit of “look,” all of your expressiveness and emotion has to come through “sound” and “content”. Here are some tips from my book, Managing the Moment, to help call participants stay present and engaged:
- Vary your vocal melody, pace, and volume to keep people engaged. Speak naturally, and ensure that everyone can hear you.
- Make eye contact with the people in the conference room even when you are speaking to someone on the phone. It shows up in the voice.
- Let people people know in advance that participation is welcome.
- Use open-ended questions to encourage interaction, and pause long enough for people to be able to answer. Let some of the content come from them.
- Do not lean forward on the table and talk at the phone; it cuts off the air supply to your voice and flattens out your melody.
- Do not multitask when you are alone someplace, participating in the call. Not only does it show in your voice but you are missing opportunities to add value and demonstrate commitment.
- Do not assume that all conference calls have to be boring and mundane. When it’s your call to run, you can make your own choices to increase engagement.
For more on this topic, read my post on LatinBusinessToday.com and tell us how you handle boring conference calls. Share your tips here.