Conference calls can be frustrating when you feel you’re not being heard; whether you’re the host or a participant. Conference calls can easily get derailed and turn into an argument, heated discussion, or focus on something completely off-topic.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to keep conference calls on track and some tips to ensure you’ll be heard despite all of the noise.
1. Introduce Yourself and Your Position
One of the simplest ways to ensure you’ll be heard during a conference call is to ensure that you’ve introduced yourself and your position with the company at the beginning of the call. This is especially important if there are new people on the call that you’ve never interacted with before.
Breaking the ice lets people know who you are and why you’re on the call to begin with. You can also repeat your name and title throughout the call to reinforce that recognition in the new callers’ minds. It can be easy to overlook a new caller simply because you don’t know their name and title.
If you’re the host, you should be introducing everyone at the beginning of your calls anyway. You should also ensure that everyone in the call has an equal opportunity to speak on whatever is being discussed.
2. Practice and Plan Beforehand
If you’re someone that’s shy or tends to hold back during a call or meeting, you can feel like your voice is never heard. It’s a good idea to get into a practice routine before the call ever takes place, so you can better assert yourself and ensure that the callers will hear what you have to say. You can practice making your points out loud, or even set up a practice call with a co-worker.
You can also let your call host know that you have trouble speaking up, so they can point the spotlight at you now and then to ensure you’re being heard.
3. Only Invite the Right People
This tip is for organizers. When you’re planning a conference call, sometimes you can get carried away with invites. People you think need to participate may not need to be anywhere near the conference call. They won’t add anything of value, and will only serve to drown out the people whose input you actually need.
Polish up your guest list before you send out invites. You can create a prospective list beforehand, sit on it for a few days, and think about who really needs to participate. Free conference calls don’t have to mean that everyone is included!
4. Speak With Confidence and Assertion
People who tend to speak softly or don’t sound confident can be drowned out by more assertive voices in the call. If you’re one of those people, it’s time to add some bass to your voice and be heard. Speak confidently on things you’re an expert on, and be assertive if someone cuts you off.
This doesn’t mean you need to yell or be confrontational with another caller, but if you’re constantly interrupted, stand up for yourself.
Don’t let the other callers step all over you simply because you have a softer voice or are less confident-sounding. Practice confidence-building techniques so you can sound more assertive when you speak.
5. Be Prepared
We’ve already talked about practicing your speaking beforehand, but you’ll also want to be prepared for the discussion material as well. If you’ve been emailed or given an agenda a few days prior to the meeting, it offers a good opportunity to update yourself on the meeting content.
If you’re going to be discussing something you’re an expert in, prepare materials that could help reassert your points or data to back up trends within the company. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the meeting’s discussion points, do your best to research them beforehand to get a better idea of what you’ll be discussing.
6. Minimize Your Background Noise
The last thing you want is for the callers to mute you because of your background noise. Conference calls can be easily derailed by excess background noise, and chances are, if you’re the cause of it, you’ll be muted or asked to leave the call altogether. You can’t exactly be heard if you’re muted!
Be sure you’re joining the call from a quiet location. If you’re at the office, see if you can use a conference room. If you’re at home, isolated yourself in a quiet room with the door closed. Keep background noise to a minimum and you’re much more likely to be heard; plus, it’s just polite to not have a lawnmower in the background.
Conference calls don’t have to be frustrating if you follow these six tips for being heard on a call. Remember to introduce yourself, be prepared, minimize your background noise as much as possible, use an agenda, and only invite the right people to the call.