Tips for Encouraging Participation During a Conference Call

To ensure a successful conference call, you need to create an atmosphere that encourages participation. Here's how:

  1. Keep an open mind. Leave your preconceptions behind and open your mind to new thoughts and ideas.
  2. Be friendly. Begin the conference call with a smile and a greeting.
  3. Respect differences. You will encounter many different personality types and personal styles. Look for the positive aspects in each and harness them to reach the group goal. Make an effort to allow every voice to be heard.
  4. Recognize individuals. Let individuals shine within the group. Acknowledge and seek out people with special expertise or talents to share.
  5. Give credit. Thank and recognize the ideas of others. Acknowledging the contributions of others fosters trust and confidence.
  6. Accept challenge. Accept criticism without getting defensive. If your ideas or opinions are challenged, meet that challenge with explanation, discussion and persuasion.
  7. Be yourself. Be sincere. There's no need to play a role or try to be what you're not. Be content to be yourself.
  8. Be responsive. Watch the participants for verbal and nonverbal signals and respond. Look for signs of inattention or boredom which may indicate that the meeting has gone on too long or that one person or view has become too dominant. Lack of eye content or a high-pitched voice can signal anxiety. Ask what the person is feeling and why. Use these signals to keep the group focused and on task.
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