What could be more terrifying than being put on the spot and expected to keep your composure while questions are being fired at you? Here are three tips to help you ace your next conference call.
Preparation is the Key Ingredient
In the case of a pre-scheduled conference call, preparation can make a huge difference for the introverted corporate American. Block out some time to review the meeting agenda a few hours or a few days before your call. This gives you an opportunity to jot down any issues that you predict may be brought to your attention and do the necessary research surrounding them, so you’ll feel comfortable answering any questions that may arise. Also, make sure that you clear your schedule fifteen minutes before the conference call begins to allow your brain time to switch gears. This will enable you to review your notes and take a few deep breaths, resulting in a calmer state of mind.
Strength in Numbers
Review the list of participants on the conference call and determine if it would be beneficial to request an internal pre-call meeting with any of them. For instance, you may find that one of your colleagues has expertise directly relating to an agenda item. A quick ten minute meeting can do wonders for your understanding of the scope and tone that will be set during the call. This will also allow you to clarify any of the agenda items that you may not fully understand as well as explain what your particular focus will be aimed at.
Action Items Are Your Friend
You can expect to be thrown a curveball in the form of a question you don’t know the answer to despite all your preparation. Many introverts will panic when met with this situation and a common response is for them to stumble over their words. Keep in mind that it is perfectly acceptable for you to state that you will need some time to research the question and take away the issue as an action item. Clients and upper management normally don’t blink twice when this is suggested, and this is a great way to gently turn the issue aside for the remainder of the call.
Practice using these three strategies on a regular basis, and you will be amazed at how much easier participating on conference calls becomes for you.