Take A Break 9. February 2010 Maranda Gibson Business Communications, Customer Service, Web Conferencing (0) Oh, Twitter, how you give us a glimpse into the mind of the everyday office worker and how they feel about their day to day activities. Usually, that mild mannered office worker has a conference call to attend, from updating a team on procedures to going over financials. Everyone is using conference calls to make their staff meetings go a little smoother, stay more productive, and save money on travel. Most of the time, conference calls can go pretty quickly, but there are always those times when you know it’s going to be a long one – due to the topic or even the person who’s doing the presenting. As the leader of a conference, you can do a lot to plan ahead for a conference call and have things in place to keep the attention of the attendees. However, nothing is fool proof and there’s always the chance that you are going to lose the audience. What can you do during a conference call to bring them back to attention? Here are a couple of suggestions to try on your next conference if you sense everyone is drifting. Ask a question. Don’t call anyone out but throwing out a blanket question and pausing for a few beats afterwards can help pull everyone’s brains back into the task at hand. Don’t answer the question, just ask it. A lot of times when people “zone out” hearing something new or that could require a response will draw them back in. Take a break. Have a long conference planned? Schedule a break about halfway through. I would suggest this for any conference that is going to be an hour or longer. It doesn’t have to be a long break, maybe five minutes. Let people get up from their desks, stretch their backs and arms, and maybe get a refill of coffee. Then they come back and it’s like the call just began. Switch speakers. Even if you’re talking about the same subject throughout the length of the conference, you can still bring a different voice on the call to finish up. Not only does it help relax your vocal chords, but it will be a new sound and tone for your attendees to react to. If you’re used to a sound or voice, it’s easier to drown it out, and bringing a new voice to the call can refocus everyone. There are some quick suggestions that can help you bring everyone back down to Earth during a conference call. Do you do anything differently? Have you ever tried these before? How do you prepare to refocus your group mid conference?