Building Influence, Communication Skills

How Do You Influence People When They Can’t See You?

Blog bites:

  • Carefully plan your teleconferences to make sure objectives are met
  • Chunk your presentation down into appropriate sound bites
  • Play with your voice to have more impact
  • A monotone body creates a monotone voice (and a wandering mind) – so keep moving

We had a coaching call last week with one of our clients Tony, who is located in Melbourne. His company’s head office is in Sydney so most of his important meetings are held via teleconference. He expressed how difficult it was to engage fully in these conference calls without being able to “see” his audience. He said “I feel like I’m having to shout over people to get my points across, or I just miss the window to contribute and feel like I can’t get the whole meeting to backtrack for my benefit.” As a result, he is aware that he sometimes switches off. We’re sure many can relate to this!

So much of communication is non-verbal. Here at Colin James Method we talk about the importance of developing a physiology of excellence, having a conscious awareness around the use of hand gestures, using appropriate facial expressions to inject energy and emotion and learning how to move purposefully to hold attention. Eye contact is another critical element that helps to create a relationship with your audience. All of this valuable methodology can be applied in face-to-face meetings as well as video conferences. So, let’s explore how to influence others on conference calls when you can’t use body language and eye contact?

Here are some tips on how to manage these calls:

It’s all in the planning!

Set guidelines before the teleconference starts. These can include how long it will be (studies show attention spans are short) and whether technology is allowed. Also, make sure you know who is on the line and what their agendas are before the meeting starts. If it is not your meeting, make sure the organiser is aware of the agenda items for which you have significant contributions so you will be invited to contribute at the appropriate time. Preparation is key!

Break your presentation into key points

Try not to go into verbal overload. Structure what you want to say and make your points clearly. State your concept, follow it with a couple of broad principles and then go into detail if necessary.

Make your voice work for you

Your voice is all you have on the phone so it needs to be engaging. It also needs to project confidence and authority. If you are pitching an idea, use a more energised, motivational voice. If you are educating, use a voice that is lower and slower, with plenty of pauses to allow your ideas to be absorbed. If you are seeking feedback, keep things conversational. Have fun playing with your tone.

Keep moving

Try standing and moving around during the call. Not only will this ensure you stay focused but it will also provide your voice with some welcome tonal variety. Many radio presenters understand this and choose to stand rather than sit during their shows.

Above all, remember that the best gift you have to offer is your full attention, so don’t try to multi-task. Switch off all devices and behave as if you are all in the same room. This is the key takeaway on how to be influential in any context.

The Mastering Communication program with The Colin James Method team will show you how to improve communication and influence in every situation.

The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional development with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

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