Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Conference Calls - Risk to your career? Part 1

It's no secret that conference calls are part of our business DNA.   While the ability to get a few, or scores or hundreds of people on one call is a wonderful communications tool, they also pose risks ...

Today, I'll focus on one risk and one solution.

People can always slow you down, but they find it difficult to speed you up.
Let me explain - if you drone on endlessly without interruption, assuming your audience is paying attention, you're in danger of harming your career. 
  1. People are busy.
  2. They don't have time for endless droning.
  3. They are already on too many conference calls.
  4. You are not that important.
  5. They are distracted by ... Google, Yahoo, pictures of their grandkids ... etc.
So speak quickly, clearly and ask for questions.  Establish a bit of dialogue at the beginning of the call to set the stage for discussion. 
And when you ask a question, count to ten (not out loud, of course) to demonstrate listening behavior.  The silence is tough on most of us, but we can gain comfort with the space.  I have found that people will begin to discover that their comments are welcome, but they need to know the 'space' is there allowing them to speak.  If we trample over their words, we'll get compliance from everyone else.
Let me know if you have any funny conference call stories you care to share!

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