6 Tips for a Great Conference Call
Most of us are working at home due to #coronavirus pandemic; and home office means that the tiresome, never ending meetings have now invaded the comfort of our home in the form of conference calls.
A conference call can be as exhausting as a meeting in person or worse: it can be awkward! It entails some etiquette that professionals tend to overlook, but if taken seriously can make online meetings more effective and productive.
Here are some great tips:
1. Solve any technical problems beforehand
You might face unexpected technical issues during a conference call, but avoiding the “avoidable” in advance is key to having an effective and fruitful meeting. Make sure your internet connection is stable, your camera and microphone are properly configured, and your computer won’t shut down out of sudden due to an unexpected update. There is nothing more unprofessional than a display of your inability to manage your own technical issues before your team.
2. Set the scene
You don’t want to show family portraits, your cat or your messy living room. If you don’t have an office at home, choose a neutral background: a plain wall, a bookshelf or, in lack of options, a neat room where your children won’t gatecrash out of a sudden and nobody will hear your cat meowing. If you live in an area with a lot of traffic, mute your microphone when you are not speaking - it avoids that street noise interferes the flow.
3. Announce yourself
It might seem obvious, but it is not! Be polite and respectful: greet your colleagues and announce yourself at the beginning of a conference call. It shows people that you are present and they have your full attention.
4. Speak clearly
Your voice can be obscured throughout a conference call, so make sure you get your ideas across by speaking louder than usual and at a slower pace, pausing briefly between key words and points covered. This technique can be crucial in communicating online because your voice is the main conveyor of meaning.
5. No pajamas! No funny faces!
You don’t have to dress up for a conference call, but a neat look is of paramount importance to maintain a professional image, to structure your day and accordingly your sanity. Don’t forget that as long as your camera is on, all eyes are on you: avoid funny faces, yawning, frowning or rolling your eyes – the false impression of being alone can trick you!
6. Silence can lead to misunderstanding
Since your voice is the main conveyor of meaning during a conference call, silence can be confusing – people might wonder whether a technical problem arose or whether you are paying attention to them. Such misunderstandings slow down communication and, as a result, the flow of ideas. Use silence as a communication tool to structure your speech (see point 4) and, of course, to listen!
Written by Daiane Publio Dias