Is The Telephone Really A Stage For A Speaker?

How Can You Make The Phone Work For You, Not Against You?
How Can You Make The Phone Work For You, Not Against You?

When we are on the stage giving a speech, even if this is not easy for us to do, at least we know what we need to do. We can learn how to keep the audience’s attention, we know how to communicate information effectively, and basically we understand the importance of public speaking. We also understand how to interpret all of the signals that the audience is sending our way. All of this knowledge may be contributing to why so many speakers do such a poor job of communicating with groups when a telephone is involved…

Why A Telephone Is A Scary Thing

So why do we speakers have such trouble when we have to participate in a teleconference? I think that it all stems from one simple thing: we don’t know what to do. We’re used to being the star of the show and having everyone stare at us and that’s awfully hard to do when you are on the other sides of a telephone. No presentation tips are going to help you here!

Got Notes?

The first thing that you can do to make your next teleconference go better is to learn to take notes. Look, you’re not standing up on a stage and so nobody’s know that you’ve got a pad of paper and a pencil on the table in front of your phone.

If you take the time to jot down some notes about what’s been said on the teleconference, then when it comes your time to speak, you’re going to sound like the smartest person in the room – even if you’re the only person in the room! You don’t have to take detailed notes. Just note down enough to trigger your memory when you glance at the paper and that should do the trick.

No Robots Allowed!

If there’s one thing that we all hate is when we have to listen to one of those “robot” answering machines when we call companies. What you need to realize is that since the other people on a teleconference can’t see you, the sound of your voice is all that they have to go off of. The last thing the world that you want to be doing is to be trying their listening skills!

This means is that you need to be careful to not talk in a monotone. The use of vocal variety (changing your voice’s pitch and rate) becomes very important when that’s the only way that you have for a teleconference audience to “see” you.

Let Your Telephone Audience “See” What You Mean

Although we don’t quite live in the era of Dick Tracy’s video conferencing wristwatch, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make visuals part of your next teleconference. The easiest way to go about doing this is to distribute your slides or other visuals before the call starts. Then while you are talking, you can reference your visuals and the audience on the line can follow along.

Know When To End The Show

One of the basic rules to giving a good speech also applies to hosting a successful teleconference: wrap it up on time. Nobody will think kindly of you if you run over the time that you scheduled for the call (in fact, they might just hang up); however, they’ll all love you if you can wrap things up a bit early and give them some of their precious time back.

Wrap It Up So That They Remember What You Said

You can make sure that the teleconference was worth everyone’s time by wrapping it up correctly. You do this by taking a moment at the end of the call to review what was covered and to make sure that everyone knows what the important points were. By doing this you’ll be assured that everyone leaves the call with the same view of what was discussed.

What All Of This Means For You

When you place a speaker on one end of a telephone and his or her audience on the other end, all of the rules that we’ve learned as speakers seem to go flying out the door. We need to learn how to do a better job.

It turns out one of the benefits of public speaking is that it’s not that hard to conduct an effective teleconference if you go about it in the correct manner. This means that you’re going to have to take notes so that you don’t get lost, you’re going to have to use as much vocal variety as you can in order to retain interest, and you’ll have to review what you’ve said before you wrap things up on time.

In the world of the 21st Century in which we find ourselves living, more and more often we’re going to have to communicate with groups of people using the telephone. What this means for us speakers is that we’re going to have to adjust how we talk. We can still be effective, but only if we are the ones who change in order to meet the needs of our audiences.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How long do you think that a teleconference should run – how long is too long?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As public speakers, because we know the importance of public speaking, we try very hard to be as comfortable as we can be on a stage in front of an audience. If we try hard enough and get enough chances to speak to an audience (whom we hope have good listening skills), then we have an opportunity to get good at doing this. However, this can all fly out the door if we find ourselves in a TV studio someday staring at a teleprompter. What is this thing and how do we use it?