Starting a conference call can be awkward
In theory it should be the same as beginning any other sort of meeting, but in practice most of us find that not to be the case. It’s weird, because you are not actually in the room with people. When someone physically walks into a meeting room, you can tell a whole lot about them just from the way that they open the door, find a chair to sit in, and sit down.
You can tell what sort of mood they are in, you can tell if they are tired, annoyed, frustrated, keen, energized, motivated, and you can also tell if they really want to be there all not. Yes, all that just from the way that they entered the room—and before they even said a word.
The stuff we don’t say
You probably aren’t even aware that you are subconsciously assessing each person as they come in, but you are. If you are the host of the meeting, you’ll possibly open the meeting differently depending on how the room feels. If the energy is low, you’ll instinctively know to boost it. If the energy is too high, your’ll subtly want to quieten people so that they can concentrate better.
Phew. That’s quite a lot, and you don’t have access to any of this info when you start a conference call.
All is not lost, you can still pick up on the atmosphere of your dispersed room when you are on a conference call, but you have to do some things differently in order to do that.
In a person-to-person meeting, your job as a host during the time that your attendees are entering the room might be to greet them, but mostly you’ll want to be listening with your eyes and your ears so you can pick up on the mood. You cannot do this online, so you have to change your position just a little and verbally inquire.
You may have some visual presence if you are in a videoconference, but often there is a delay or the picture quality is so bad that you cannot really tell much from that. Also, a bad connection can distort voice quality, so tone of voice might not be a great indicator of a person’s feelings.
- How’s it going?
- What’s going on?
- How’s that XXX project today?
When you start a conference call, is is just as important to listen to the subtle cues of the room as it is in a person-to-person meeting. In order to do so, you’ll need to actually ask.
Conference calls can be tricky when it comes to establishing rapport, so learning how to develop trust and understanding with your attendees is even more important when you are not actually in the same room with them.
How to start a conference call on the right foot
One of the most frustrating parts of attending or hosting a conference call is getting into it in the first place. If you spent ten minutes struggling with conference bridge PINS and passcodes you are not only going to arrive late, but you are going to arrive flustered and cross—that’s never going to be a good start.
If you want to avoid all that stress, download the free MobileDay app. It will dial into the conference bridge for you, and enter all those PINS and passcodes so that you don’t have to bother. You’ll arrive into your meeting immediately, without stress, and you’ll be in a better mood because of it.