Communication is easier than ever when you simply text a message to a person. But sometimes the real struggle is to get one phone call going. Of course, you can always switch to texting or let it go to voicemail, but there are some situations where you can’t really afford doing that.
We’re gonna talk about one of them – conference calls.
Conference call anxiety is common, but ways to fight it are not. There are no real switches to press to make it go away, and it’s a serious matter. It doesn’t mean that you can’t fight to make it a little milder.
Here are some anxiety alleviating tips, which can help you cope with conference call anxiety better. The key is to practice them consistently until you feel more confident during calls.
If you feel that your anxiety interferes with your normal life, it’s always right to ask for professional help.
Preparing for a conference call is the primary thing you should do. Go over the call agenda and review all the topics that will be discussed during the call.
However, you don’t have to stop there. You can brainstorm a bunch of possible conversation paths the participants may have, as well as additional discussion topics.
This way you may feel safer knowing you are prepared for any deviations.
You can go ahead and take some notes to keep them in front of you and take a glance anytime you need throughout the call.
It’s also useful to summarize all the points that you will voice during the call and brainstorm questions that you may receive in the aftermath. This will help feel more in control of what you do and soothe the fear of questions.
Another possible way is to reach out to your coworkers and hear their opinion on the call agenda.
Practice your posture
What you do before the conference call can have an impact on how you feel during the call. You can take as much as 2 minutes practicing your pose to make yourself feel safer and more confident during the call.
It can be a simple smile or an expansive body posture which is otherwise more scientifically referred to as a power pose.
It’s proven to be working by a recent study published in March 2018 by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and a former faculty member of Harvard Business School.
There is a variety of expansive power poses that help you take up space and move away your extremities like raising your hands up in a V shape and widely separating your legs.
Keeping this posture for a couple of minutes drives hormonal changes that lead to psychological and behavioral improvement.
Other poses include straightening your back and keeping your hands on your hips, keeping feet apart by shoulder length (this is called “The Wonder Woman” pose). Amy Cuddy speaks about this in more detail in her TED talk where you can take a look at other poses as well.
Of course noticing the change won’t be immediate, however after some time of practicing these postures you will feel different when taking conference calls in the long run.
Keeping yourself concentrated is difficult enough and adding noise to that doesn’t make things look pretty. So here’s the list of things that you absolutely should try to do for any conference call:
- Always answer your calls in a quiet area away from any side conversations.
- Get good conference call equipment and a decent conference call service provider so that you can refer to them in case of trouble.
- If you’re using speakerphones make sure to put it on wooden surface to avoid reverberations that manipulate the sound.
- Choose Ethernet instead of WiFi if you can – it is more reliable and will steer clear of delays.
- Depending on the conference call provider, choose traditional phone audio service, to avoid all the hassle with internet audio.
- Good quality noise canceling headphones will help you out if you can’t avoid noisy atmosphere. They are completely safe for your ears, so no need to worry.
- Get a noise canceling app that will mute both your and other participants’ noise during the conference call. Krisp does this pretty well and it’s the best available solution in the industry
If you’re having other technical troubles with your conference calls, you can take a look at how to deal with its dark sides.
Visualize the process
Some days it’s easier to take a conference call, while other times it’s just something next to impossible. On days like those just take a moment to imagine the entire flow of the conference call.
Imagine that you take the call, speak to the call participants and resolve all the issues with the topics and end the call on a positive note. Remember the relief you will have after the call and begin with that in mind.
You can also take your time and loudly rehearse what you are going to say during the conference call.
Another way to deal with this is to write all your possible fears related to conference calls, give them numbers and rank them from least scary to most scary. This will help visualize what you’re afraid of and what to focus on.
After you have your call, try occupying your mind with a task that you really like, so that you have more positive associations with the call next time.
Take a look at previous conference calls
This is fairly the best chance to get you into the mood of having a conference call. Start a habit of recording your conference calls and viewing them afterwards.
It will not only help you prepare for the calls better but also keep you from forgetting any crucial information. Pay attention to how you articulate and behave in certain situations throughout the call. It’s also beneficial to follow some of your coworkers’ speaking style as well.
You can try adopting the style that will make you feel comfortable best.
You can check out about call recording – it’s a great option for your regular phone calls as well, and don’t worry – it’s completely legal.
Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself, because you’re doing your best to make your conference calls productive and every little step counts.
We hope these tips will help your efforts!