Conference calling has long been a key facet of corporate work life but, for many, conference calling can still be a large source of frustration. Conference call technology has improved over the years; so why are we still suffering through bad audio conferences?
The problem lies in user error. Sometimes conference call best practices go against our natural tendencies. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget to tweak your speaking manner and behavior to optimize the conference call experience for all involved.
Whether you already exhibit good conference call habits or need to step up your conference call game, here are a few reminders on how to have a successful audio conference so you can connect and collaborate with colleagues in the most efficient, hassle-free manner possible.
Embrace Your Natural Speaking Tone
If you’re like me, you probably have a “phone voice” that you take on when you take an important phone call that is different than the voice you use in casual conversation. However, the “phone voice” is the enemy of productive audio conferencing. You see, so much of what we say is conveyed via body language and, without seeing the speaker’s body language during a conference call, much of that non-verbal communication is lost.
The natural speaking voice that you use when you’re comfortable, though, carries valuable social cues via your inflection and natural speech patterns. These cues become essential without the presence of body language and, by using your phone voice, you are robbing your audience of those social cues that are so necessary to stellar communication. So take a deep breath, relax and throw your “phone voice” to the wayside. Your meeting participants will thank you.
Stay on Topic
It’s easy to get sidetracked during a meeting, especially when half of the participants are in the same room and side conversations can easily arise. For those on the other end of the conference phone, though, the fear of missing out (FOMO) kicks in when participants dialing in to the call are left out of these topical conversations that pop up in the conference room. Personally, when I’m working remotely and my co-workers that are physically in the conference room go off on a tangent, my mind immediately begins to wander. Staying on topic is crucial for both in-person and remote meeting participants; ensuring you stay focused on your task will save you valuable time and allow for a successful audio conference.
Stand Up When Speaking
For many people, standing up when talking can increase their focus. Consider using a Bluetooth headset during your conference calls to free your hands up, enabling you to walk around (and even “talk with your hands”) during the meeting. This may help boost your focus and keep you on task, all while preventing unproductive multitasking.
Know When to Use Mute
We’ve sang praises of the mute button a million times before, but it’s worth repeating again because, let’s face it: how you use mute can single-handedly make or break a conference call. It’s important that you stay focused on the present and actively toggle your mute button on and off as needed. This becomes all the more crucial for remote meeting participants. Mute is your meeting savior, your partner in productivity. Mute yourself, mute your colleagues and reap the benefits of smarter meetings (but don’t forget to un-mute when you need to talk, of course).
If you follow the tips above, you are sure to have audio conference calls that are more productive, less frustrating and better for all involved.
To learn more about smarter web and audio conferencing, check out PGi’s GlobalMeet today.