Does the ‘new normal’ have you in a bit of a spin? Here’s how to conquer the conference call!

In our ‘new normal’ working from home during the Coronvirus crisis, connecting with colleagues and clients can only be done digitally.  For those who are used to conference calls, like us, there’s no fuss… it’s business as usual.  But if you’re used to operating face to face though, it can be a little daunting.  Here’s our hints and tips to nail your conference call.

  1. Be prepared:  in the invite you’ll receive a link.  Don’t wait until it’s time for the call to click it which, if you’ve not attended a call before, will initiate the download the software to your computer.  So, do this well in advance of your call.
  2. You may only be able to familiarise yourself with the software once your call has commenced.  There’s usually a comment section and adjustments you can make for sound, sharing your screen and ensuring the software recognises the headset you’re using.
  3. Test your video and audio before the meeting if you the one hosting the call. 
  4. If you’re using a laptop check that it’s fully charged or plugged in during the call.
  5. Position yourself in front of the camera so that the audience sees from your waist or chest and up.  This is more natural for the viewer who is used to seeing you face to face.
  6. Not sure where to look?  Directly into the camera is best which mimics the in-person feeling.
  7. Conduct your call from a quiet space – try shut out the dog and kids!
  8. When joining the call give your name and don’t interrupt others when they are talking. 
  9. Avoid typing during the call as it is often distracting for those attending.
  10. Mute your microphone when you’re not talking.  And be aware of your breathing and the volume setting of your mic – we’ve been on calls where there’s been a ‘heavy breather’ which is distracting and sometimes annoying. 
  11. If you find yourself wondering off a bit doodle, research shows it helps keep our attention… just position your paper out of view of the camera.
  12. Put your phone away – staring at your phone during a call is just as run on a digital call as it is in person.
  13. Don’t forget to switch off the TV, radio or other devices during the call – you want a quiet space.
  14. If you’re on a call without cameras it can be hard to know when to take your turn talking.  A moment of silence is ok in the situation.  If you and another party start talking at the same time stop talking and allow them to continue.
  15. If you need to raise a question and are unsure when to do this use the comments functionality to send your question to the meeting host/chair.

So now you’re all set.  Enjoy your calls!