You have probably had plenty of important business meetings over the phone, but are you doing all you can to make them as effective as possible? Even if you’re comfortable talking on the phone and are great with face-to-face meetings, there are likely some strategies you can adopt to make your calls more productive and effective. Here are some simple suggestions to try during your next phone meeting.
Find a Quiet Location
We’ve all been there… you’re in the middle of an important conference call, and suddenly you hear someone’s dog barking in the background. Interruptions like that are inconsiderate to others on the call, and can be very distracting. In person we usually have meeting rooms set aside to speak in, but many people don’t feel the need to find a similar space for a phone meeting. Seek out a quiet and private room before your call begins where you are not likely to be interrupted to show your respect for others on the call and the importance of the subject at hand.
Have and Take Notes
Before every phone meeting, have a written goal and some notes ready. Phone meetings have a tendency to get off-topic, so figure out exactly what you want to accomplish before it even starts. Announce this goal at the beginning of the call, and if it begins to stray off-topic, you will feel more comfortable leading it back to agenda. Be sure to also take notes during the call of what is discussed. It can be easy to zone out while you’re on the phone and by your computer, but try to give it your full attention and write down important takeaways.
Keep It Short
In-person meetings provide an environment that make it fairly difficult to get distracted. Everyone is in the same room, you likely have your laptop closed, and your actions are visible. People have much shorter attention spans on phone calls. They can be browsing the web, writing emails, or even mingling with coworkers on mute without anyone knowing. To get the most out of a phone meeting, keep it short. If you get down to business right away while people are still listening, it’s likely that you will get more accomplished.
Put a Smile in Your Voice
It is important to remember that during phone meetings people can’t read your facial expressions. As discussed, that means that people don’t know when others are really paying attention. That means you have to work to make people aware that you are, and that you are happily engaged in the conversation. Start by smiling while you speak. This will automatically give you a happier and more positive-sounding tone, since people cannot actually see if you are smiling. Also try to add in some verbal nods. Since the others on the call can’t see your body language, you have to make it known with your voice. Don’t cut off people speaking, but try to slip in a few understanding phrases, such as “I see”, “That’s interesting”, and “Exactly”.
Be Aware of Sound Quality
A certain way to derail an important call is poor phone service. Choppy audio, disconnecting calls, and muffled sound all make communication extremely difficult. Ensure that you avoid all of these problems by using a provider with reliable service, such as Nextiva. Offering high-quality phones, a secure network, great conference lines, and Amazing Service, Nextiva makes sure that at least from a tech and service standpoint, your business phone calls will go smoothly.
Face-to-face meetings have a clear standard for what is expected, but phone meetings can be a little trickier to handle. Be sure to pay attention, be an active listener, and communicate clearly in order to get the most out of each call.
Gaetano DiNardi is the Director of Demand Generation at Nextiva and has a track record of success working with brands like Major League Baseball, Pipedrive, Sales Hacker and Outreach.io. Outside of marketing, Gaetano is an accomplished music producer and songwriter – he’s worked with major artists like Fat Joe, Shaggy and loves making music to stay turbocharged. To get in touch, follow him on LinkedIn.