More and more I hear from our clients the increasing need to conduct business over the phone. This is never going to be as effective as face to face communication, so I would always urge doing that where possible. It is clear however that travel budgets just don’t allow this as much these days – if at all. So if you do find you are speaking to your clients and stakeholders a great deal over the phone then this is how you can get more from the calls
- Before starting the conversation, think about the outcomes you want from the call. Where there are a number of topics to discuss, prepare an agenda
- Before answering questions stop and think before you respond i.e.Pause
- When responding don’t feel you have to tell them everything you know about the topic. If you speak for too long it is harder for people to follow you. They can always ask another question if they want to know more.
- If you have a number of people on a call then a strong chair is needed who controls the conversation, following an agenda; making sure people contribute where necessary and stopping people from either speaking for too long or persistently interrupting other people.
A common reaction to point 3 is that others will jump in if you pause. This is where you need a strong chair or need to be strong yourself and point this out. Everyone should be allowed airtime in a call and everyone should take their turn in listening. Listening of course is an art in itself – more on that next time.