Conference Calls - Necessary Evils?
What is your greatest communication ”challenge?” When I ask that question in working with companies throughout the world, the answer is - overwhelmingly - conference Calls! Reasons…too many of them…too long…boring…lacking impact…waste of time!
On a recent trip to Brazil we were discussing the problems with conference calls. Someone suggested, “You ought to sit in on (name withheld) calls. They are great!” I said, “Tell me what she does.” The answers…They are brief. She is highly energetic. You know they are carefully planned because they are highly interactive, participatory, and they produce results.
Want others to talk about your calls that way…? My recommendations: Plan them carefully, be highly energetic, and make your calls briefer!
Plan - Prepare a good opening, summary wrap-up, and closing. Select individuals to be ready to “give us two or three minutes” on their project. Assign others to ask pertinent and helpful questions. Surprise us with new information, good news, or a lively story to make your points. Prepare your agenda, share it in advance, stick to it, and build in as much participation as you can.
Be Energetic - Remember that you cannot SEE one another. So your tone of voice and upbeat delivery are critically important! If you are using videoconferencing, remember that you are “on television.” Get some media training.
Be clear and briefer - Remember that you are dealing with issues of accents, time zones, cultures, etc. Speak clearly and “To the point.” And remember that EVERYONE”S attention span is short and getting shorter.
And the most important advice…Work as hard on your conferences calls as you do on every one of your communication opportunities. Make others look forward eagerly to your conference calls as productive time spent - not a necessary evil!