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After establishing contact with the party you're trying to reach, you should be ready to use the time as effectively as if you were in a face-to-face meeting.
The speakerphone - friend or foe?
Speakerphones are also useful for conference calls. If you are leading a speakerphone meeting with a number of people, allow each person to introduce himself or herself, to help the listeners match a name to a voice.
"In conference calls, always identify yourself by name and never rely solely on voice recognition," said Lena Bottos, compensation market analyst for Salary.com. "Always preface your comments with an introduction."
Another silent strategy for conference calls is to use email, whiteboards, or instant messaging software to communicate with other participants on the call. This can be advantageous, for instance, when a silent partner wishes to prompt a speaker to say something in particular. If you are using such signals, however, be careful not to distract the other party by the sound of typing, nor to alienate the other party with your surreptitious strategizing.
If you use this type of telephone, be careful not to bring your conversations into parts of the office where they do not belong. Many office workers can relate stories of coworkers walking up and down the halls seeming to talk to themselves. Be sensitive to the acoustics of the area in which you are conducting business, and to your coworkers' work spaces.
If you work with people who use hands-free telephones, develop a way of ascertaining quickly whether they are on a call before beginning a conversation with them.
When to say no
However, don't hide behind your voice mail. Technology makes it quite feasible to keep people at bay indefinitely. But if people begin to think you never answer your phone, they will stop calling, which could adversely affect business relationships.
Have a nice day
- Regina M. Robo, News Editor
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