The beginning of the conference call is a particularly vulnerable period. It can take a few moments for all the callers to phone in, and it can be awkward to try to make conversation while you wait. Get your conference call off to a strong start with these small talk tips:
1. Make Sure Each Call Has a Designated Leader
An easy way to make sure your calls go smoothly is to assign a leader to direct each one. The leader will be responsible for initiating conversation if silence starts to emerge and will take steps to involve the other collaborators in the conversation if the same two or three callers are the only ones talking. If a team member begins to rant, the call leader can get the meeting back on track.
2. Consider Directing Questions to Specific People
It can be uncomfortable when one or two people knowingly or unknowingly take over the conference call. Prevent this from happening by directing questions to specific people on the call. If you know a team member has just returned from vacation, you might ask them about their trip. Someone may be working on a big project or undertaking; ask this person how it’s going (even if the project isn’t related to work). Not only does this mitigate any awkwardness, it also helps you build rapport with team members.
3. Check That Your Equipment Functions Properly
One of the easiest ways to help conference call small talk flow smoothly is to make sure that your equipment functions correctly. The last thing you want is for your conference call to begin with multiple individuals requesting technical assistance or asking questions about the equipment no one on the call knows the answer to. Encourage employees to test their systems before the call. You may even want to implement regular training sessions regarding the equipment and how to correctly use it.
4. Broaden Your Conversational Topics
You want to avoid controversial topics (like politics or potentially volatile current issues), but don’t feel as if your small talk must be limited to the weather or company matters. It’s fine to branch out and incorporate more personal conversation. Some topics that are generally acceptable include travel plans, weekend activities, hobbies (especially activities that multiple team members enjoy), upcoming sporting events, and current entertainment (movies, TV shows and music). Use discretion; avoid bringing up an event, hobby or movie with mature or contentious subject matter.
These are just a few tips to help you make the most of conference call small talk. Remember, even on an internal call with colleagues, it’s important not to request or provide sensitive information, such as passwords. This, along with other network security best practices, will help ensure your data remains protected. To determine whether or not your company is in need of greater cyber security, contact us at 702-547-9800 to schedule a free network security assessment today.