Coaching Icon copyI am often asked about how to bring Impact to a presentation when it is part of a conference call. It is very tricky to be present and keep your cool, when you have no concrete way of telling whether the people that are listening to you are actually listening (and not busy bidding for various items on eBay, or texting their girlfriend). Unfortunately, you simply can’t have any control over the other people in the meeting; the only person that you can control is YOU. As with any face-to-face presentation, YOU are the centre of attention, but you are there to serve your audience, so it is your responsibility to ensure that others have as good an experience as possible. Here are my top 10 tips:

  1. Know your stuff: Do not attempt to ‘wing it’. We seem to be prepared to ‘wing it’ on the end of a line, as though the fact that we can’t be seen will mean it’s less important to know what we are talking about. Ensure that you know what it is you want to say, and PRACTISE it, so that it can flow with ease.
  2. Practise out Loud: Have a good practise before the event, maybe even record yourself so that you can listen to your voice. Are you clear enough? Slow enough? Do you sound grumpy (when you meant to sound powerful?)
  3. Vocal Clarity: Make sure that you are enunciating all your words clearly; your audience may not have a clear line, or English may not be their first language. It can feel strange to use all your consonants clearly, but it pays off if you want impact!
  4. Slow Down: I am always asking people to remember full stops! They are there to enable you (and others) to THINK. Make sure you honour the thinking time needed in your presentation even though you are on a call.
  5. Body Language: If possible stand up while you are presenting. Even though you can’t be seen, your body language will still send strong messages through how standing up makes you feel. Ensure that your body is free to express itself in the way you would when face to face. This will help your voice, and therefore help to convey your ideas to your audience. If you can be on a hands-free headset, even better!
  6. Breathe: If you are nervous whilst waiting your turn, turn your attention to your breathing. The breath not only helps to control nerves but it will also add power to your voice and add depth to your vocal range. Slowly breathing in and out through your nose while waiting will help you.
  7. Drink water: Have plenty of water on hand, it keeps your body hydrated, which allows not only the voice to be expressive and fluid, but also keeps the body properly fuelled for speaking and expressing.
  8. Remove Distractions: Close the door, turn off any technology that you won’t be needing. Even though you can’t be seen, we (the audience) will still be able to sense when your attention wanders. It’s always best to remove temptation.
  9. Check In: Introduce yourself clearly at the beginning, check that everyone can hear you, and check in at suitable moments during your presentation to ensure that you still have everyone on board.
  10. Passion: As with all good presentations, find your personal connection to the subject, however small; this will come across as care and love of your subject.