I, like many others in the globalized business world, spend much of my time on the phone. In particular, chairing and minuting teleconferences, often with a mixture of native and non-native English speakers. Here are my top 5 tips for effective telephone-based communication:
- Summarize discussions succinctly and simply at the end of every topic and confirm that key participants understand the agreement(s).
- Be conscious of posture and speak from the diaphragm. Standing up also helps with voice projection: a thespian approach to enunciating assists with getting your message across.
- Smile as you speak! A friendly tone of voice puts everyone at ease, and we can discern when someone is smiling even without any visual cues.
- Further to point 2, speak more slowly and clearly than in a face to face situation. This allows for noise and lag from VOIP connections and transatlantic (or further!) distances.
- Don't be afraid to confirm what you understand by paraphrasing someone else, and asking if you're on the same proverbial page.