We’ve all been on conference calls where it is almost a chore to try and pay attention to what is being said by the presenter. You’re thinking … please get to the point or you find yourself frustrated with the lack of organization of the topic. The presenter is taking up many other peoples valuable time, so it’s important for the presenter to respect the time of others. If you are the presenter, a little pre-call planning can make a huge difference. Here are 5 things you can do to make the call more productive and have the participants more engaged.
1.) Make a list of the key points you want to get across.
Keep it short. Three key points is good. Not much more. You also want to keep the call short, without over without overwhelming the participants. Point form is good. Say the three points at the beginning of the call and summarize them at the end of the call
2.) Start on time and go over the rules.
Start confidently which means starting at the time you said the call would start. If you have multiple speakers or a Q & A at the end, let everyone know when they can speak. Use the mute feature if you need to mute all callers and let the callers know how to unmute their phones.
3.) Watch your timing.
Cover each point off in the allotted time. If you said the call will only be 30 minutes, keep it that way. If you have other speaker make sure they know in advance how long they have to speak and don’t be afraid to cut them off and schedule another call. No one wants to hear someone go on and on without getting to the point.
4.) Open discussion control
Ask any other speaker to email you a summary of what they are going to say. It helps them and it helps you, the moderator control the call. Again, don’t let the call get out of control. Just like on the Oscars or other award shows when they cut off people by starting the music who like to hear themselves talk and thank the world, blah… blah.. Keep the call in control. People have other things to do and places to be.
5.) Speak clearly and confidently
Speak at an even pace, don’t try and rush you speaking. Avoid umms, ahhs, you know’s, like’s and other filler words. Look them in the eye… Yes you can do that over the phone. Just as you were looking and speaking to a group of people. Relax, don’t worry about pauses in your speaking. It actually makes people listen more, a well placed pause.
And keep practicing to become the best moderator of them all.