Participating or leading conference calls in English can be stressful on non-native speakers. Here are 10 tips for to bear in mind to ensure a stress-free and productive conference call.
1) Be prepared - Multiple party calls or calls on a new conference call platform can be tricky to connect. Show up 5-10 minutes early to be prepared on how to dial in or ask an experienced co-worker to help.
2) Project Your Voice: Articulate what you say, speak clearly, project your voice and speak comfortably. Speaking slowly and clearly is especially useful during overseas conference calls as there can sometimes be a delay in voice transmission.
3) Be careful with "Fillers": – “Um”, “uh huh”: Be careful not to overuse “fillers” as it can confuse and distract concentration.
4) Moments Of Silence: Use moments of silence (3-5 seconds) for the others to understand and digest complex ideas and information. Don´t overuse it as too much silence can be uncomfortable!
5) Slow Down And Pause Between Ideas: Not everyone will have the same level of English so pause every three to five sentences to give non-native speakers an opportunity to understand before continuing.
6) Be Proactive: If you don´t understand or someone is speaking to fast, you need to communicate that to them either directly or indirectly. Use “I didn´t catch that”, “I didn´t follow that” , “Can you explain it in a different way?” “Can you repeat that?”
7) Play it back: It's easy to mishear or mis-communicate during a conference call. If you'e unsure about what you heard during a call, take some time to repeat it back to the speaker to eliminate miscommunication.
8) Agenda points: – don´t mix them or move to fast to the next agenda points: For each agenda point, it is important everyone participates, follows the conversation and understands key ideas. If you mix agenda points or move too quickly to the next agenda point, you´ll lose the participation and engagement of some of the participants.
9) Plain and Simple English: Non-Native English Speakers are quick to blame their English level. During conference calls all native and non-native English speakers need to be reminded to use Plain and Simple English when communicating internationally.
10) Company Acronyms and Jargon: Not everyone inside or outside your company understands your company´s acronyms and jargon. Your options are either to check people´s understanding of Acronyms and Jargon or avoid excessive use.
Don't feel confident about your Business English? MANHATTAN English Studio conducts "English for Busy Professionals" twice weekly on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7-9pm. Feel free to contact us and we will be happy to set you up with a free trial lesson!