Between an increase in remote workers and sometimes facing situations where travel is limited—such as during the coronavirus—conference calls can help companies continue to operate more seamlessly.
That said, if you’re not used to meeting over the phone or by video, you may have a little angst about how to put your best foot forward when you can’t be there in person. Here are a few tips that will help.
Do a Test Run
Many conference call platforms enable users to do a test run to make sure their audio and video will work with that particular program. Take the time to go through this step before the meeting so you don’t show up only to have issues that keep you from hearing or interacting with others on the call.
For video-based conference calls, check out the room around you beforehand as well. Is it light enough for others to see you clearly? Is there any art on the wall behind you that is distracting? Deal with these things now so you come across as more professional during the meeting itself.
Dress As If You Are At Work
If the conference call is by video, dressing as if you are actually at the office shows that you take your role seriously. It instills confidence in the company’s leaders that you are, in fact, working versus spending your days watching TV or otherwise sloughing off.
Even if the call isn’t by video, wearing your normal work clothes gets you in the right frame of mind. It tells your brain that it’s time to handle business, as opposed to staying in your pajamas, which tells your mind that it’s time to go back to bed.
Reduce Your Distractions
When there’s a lot of things happening around you, it makes it harder for you to concentrate on the information being presented in the call. At home, this means keeping the kids busy during your meetings and turning the TV or radio off.
Participating from meetings in a public venue, like a coffee shop, requires reducing distractions too. For example, position yourself away from others with the wall is behind you. This keeps outside noise to a minimum, and prevents others from appearing in your video call.
Keep Yourself Muted When Not Speaking
Whenever you are not speaking, your audio should be muted. This way, if the kids do barge in, the dog starts barking, or the neighbor begins mowing, everyone on the call won’t hear it.
The key is remembering that you’re muted so you unmute yourself before you begin to speak. If you don’t, other attendees will only see your lips move as you fumble to figure out why no one can hear you.
Smile, A Lot
For calls on video, smiling as you look into the camera shows that you’re paying attention and interested, both of which allow you to shine. For calls that are audio only, your smile will show through in your voice, making you appear more pleasant.
This is true whether you’re the attendee or presenter, so always smile during your conference calls. It will also encourage others to do the same, making for a more positive meeting.