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February 2009

Seven Ways to Improve Your Conference Call Presentations

February 13, 2009

Feb-13-improve-presentationMany of us are great speakers and motivators in person because we can make eye contact with our audience and see the effect we are having in their reactions. It can be much more difficult to feel confident about presentations made by teleconference because you cannot sense the reactions of your audience as easily. Here are a few tips to help you put together a successful conference call.

1. Be Prepared

Have a clear idea of how you want your conference call to proceed and take time to complete a written agenda. There's no substitute for good preparation!

2. Start strong

Begin your conference call with an enthusiastic greeting. The impression you make in the first five seconds of a conference determines how receptive and attentive your audience will be.

3. Stay focused

Keep on track with your agenda. Try to format your discussion topics into clear, concise points which are easy to follow. It's a good idea to write the topics you want to highlight in large letters on a piece of paper and place it where you can see it during the entire call.

4. Watch the clock

Keep an eye on the length of your conference call and be considerate of others' time. If you scheduled the meeting for an hour, your presentation should run a maximum of 45 minutes leaving time for questions at the end of your conference.

5. Ask for input

Periodically ask participants for their opinion on the subject at hand. Choose someone by name instead of asking for "comments from the gallery". This helps you gauge how well your message is getting across, and other participants will pay more attention if they know they might be called on for input!

6. Wrap it up

Be clear when your presentation is ending. Recap the highlights of the meeting and clearly restate any goals or expectations you have for your audience. Make sure you formally end the meeting.

7. Ask for help

Remember that your conference call provider is your partner; your success is their success. Consider having an operator monitor your call for unwanted background noise and to ensure that a presentation can proceed without interruptions. You should also investigate the various features that will help you make the most of your meeting. For instance, you can have your meeting recorded, interpreted or transcribed so you can reach a wider audience.

Next time, we’ll talk about some tips for conference call participants. It will be great information to include in your meeting invitation so that your attendees know what to expect.