Monday, January 11, 2021

Speaking the right way in conference calls / telephone meetings


Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Many of us are more comfortable sending an email or a text message rather than explaining stuff over the telephone, why so? 

Because in emails and text messages, we can proofread, re-read, change the words, sentences and then finally send the message. Whereas, when it comes to speaking on the phone, there are times when we are jittery, we need to grope for words, we are not sure how to explain every little thing with clarity, sometimes doubt engulfs us and sometimes fear. With all the above concerns troubling us we tend to become immensely conscious while speaking with someone over the phone. 

All the same, with the pandemic wreaking havoc in this world and people working from home, telephone meetings, conference calls have become a norm. Hence, the better we are equipped with telephone etiquette, the easier it becomes for us to grow in the realm of our jobs. Here are some tips to better our speaking skills over the telephone: 

  1. Be aware of your tone: Remember, the person/people at the other end of the call cannot see you. They will comprehend your personality and attitude based on your tone. Refrain from speaking in a monotone. Do not sound distracted and impolite. Talk in a pleasant tone. 
  2. Do not Multitask: Since people can’t see us in telephone meetings, there are times when we are tempted to do other tasks while still being on the call. This results in missing important points. Also, when we are distracted, we tend to make awkward pauses while talking. Listeners do feel that tone of distraction. Pay attention when others are talking. Ensure you focus thoroughly on your speech when it is your turn to talk. 
  3. Take care of your pace of talking: Some of us tend to talk very fast and some of us use a lot of fillers like ‘um, uh, like, you know’. This affects the credibility of our speech. Hence use your words carefully and speak in a pace wherein there is clarity. Avoid usage of slangs, jargons. 
  4. Identify yourself: Do not assume that listeners will recognize your voice. Hence, identify your voice for the first couple of times till the listeners recognize your voice. 
  5. Use names when it comes to asking questions or soliciting opinions: Instead of asking, ‘What do you think?’, you can direct the question to someone, who you know, has knowledge and experience in that subject. For example, ‘Arpita and Rohan, you guys have a lot of experience in this sphere. Could you share your views?’ 
  6. Body Language: Although the listeners cannot see you, your posture can depict your confidence in your voice. Sit up straight and don’t forget to smile. The listeners can feel the smile in your voice. 
  7. Use a good quality headset: Talking on the speaker phone tends to muffle the voices. A good headset is always a better option. At the start of the call, do check with the listeners if they can hear you. 
  8. Listen actively: Please listen without interruption. Use verbal nods like, ‘Okay, uh-huh, that’s interesting, so on and so forth.’ That will let the other person know that you are listening. Take notes. Once they are done talking, you can put forth your questions. 
  9. Seek permission before placing anyone on hold: Putting someone on hold without informing them is rude. Never leave anyone on hold for 15 to 20 seconds or more. If you think you may need to put them on hold for some more time, you might as well offer calling them back at a time suitable for them. 


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