Public speaking, including speaking in front of others in the workplace, can be a highly stressful experience for many. According to the National Institute of Mental Health in the US, 74 per cent of Americans suffer from speech anxiety, also known as glossophobia. While conference calls can help relieve some anxiety by taking out the face-to-face aspect of the interaction, there are still a few tips speakers can follow to be certain that they can lead or participate in a teleconference with confidence.
- Come prepared
Being prepared can help reduce anxiety and make speaking during teleconferences easier. First of all, getting materials and information ready that you will need during the call will ensure that you can successfully contribute to the conversation. Having some questions thought out and written down ahead of time will make sure that you don't draw a blank during the meeting.
Furthermore,Toastmasters, the international public speaking club, recommends practising what you want to say with friends or colleagues to prepare for any potential questions they might have and researching the answers before the meeting.
In addition to preparing the information you'll need for the conference call, you should also make sure you know how the technology works. Go through the procedure for calling in ahead of time and, if you are the organiser of the meeting, make sure everyone else knows the procedures as well.
Finally, Inc magazine recommends preparing for a presentation or meeting by creating two contingency plans for your two greatest worries about the call. For example, if you are worried that the teleconference might have technological issues, make sure you have the number for the 24/7 helpdesk on hand. Planning ahead ensures that when the conference call actually happens, you can focus on what you're saying and not your anxiety about what to expect.
- Put a face to a voice
By introducing yourself and asking everyone else in the conference call to introduce themselves as well, you can start building relationships with the participants, which can take pressure off by connecting the voice to a real human person. As Lenny Laskowski from LJL Seminars explains, public speaking is always easier with friends so the more you get to know your participants, the easier it will be.
Introducing yourself also has a more practical purpose on a teleconference. Without being able to see the meeting participants, it can be difficult to differentiate between voices. Cornell University recommends getting conference call participants to say their names every time they speak so others know who is talking.
- Control your tone and speed
As Corbin Ball Associates notes, it is especially important to focus on your voice during a teleconference because this is the only thing others in the conference call have to go on. The company recommends speaking with an enthusiastic tone to keep participants interested. Additionally, try not to read directly from your notes as this can cause your voice to sound rehearsed and monotone - write out your notes in bullet points if reading is a tendency.
Speed and volume are just as critical as tone. Make sure you are speaking at the right volume by checking in with others on the call. With regards to your speed, it can be tempting to rush through what you want to say but you can avoid having to repeat yourself by taking a few breaths.
For more information about how to confidently run a successful teleconference, contact the team at Eureka Conferencing now.