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For small businesses, a lot can transpire in a conference call: Deals get made, ideas are debated, and sensitive negotiations are conducted. Or worse: None of these things happen, because the people on the phone don’t know how to communicate energy, enthusiasm, and courtesy. Here are some tips to consider before you dial into your next conference call:
1. Start with the right service. If you’re hosting a conference call, use a quality conference service. Whichever service you choose, test it to be sure it portrays professionalism and sounds crisp and clear.
2. Use an agenda. You wouldn’t host a face-to-face meeting without an agenda, right? So why not use one for a conference call? Plan the discussion and goals in advance, just as you would for a meeting in the boardroom.
3. Don’t interrupt. Everyone’s contribution is equally important on a call, therefore it’s crucial to be a good listener, especially without visual cues. Wait your turn until the person speaking has finished.
4. Keep it quiet. Your customers or colleagues shouldn’t wonder where your attention is focused. No matter where you’re dialing in from, remember to convey the same focus and attention to the discussion as you would in person.
5. Turn off e-mail, Facebook, and any other distractions. Dedication shows, whether face to face or via airwaves.
6. Get out of your chair. Stand up when you’re talking on the phone. You’ll feel and sound more energetic, and that vigor will be conveyed to everyone on the call. Also, if you smile while speaking, your voice projects more clearly.
Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.
To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.