Published on March 16, 2014
Conference Calls Participation 1The views expressed are based on personal experience and information collected from the net.
Objectives for Conference Calls Possible objectives for conference calls Requirements gathering Design discussions Testing strategy related discussions Technology selection related discussions Status updates / reporting Project plan / schedules / delivery related … 3
A typical scenario 4
Important Point: No Body Language Visible 5
Introduction Introduce yourself to the customer Clear voice Precise and concise introduction Useful information only What to include? Name: First name, Last name; nickname, if any Education: Degree, discipline, university (college name not required) Project details: Name, purpose, your contribution Platform expertise Hobbies Understand responses “Would you like me to go into details?” “Did I make myself clear?” “I can talk about my hobbies, if you like.” “Do you have any questions?” 6
Call Purpose Purpose Discuss (requirements, design, test strategy, …) Inform (current status, leave plans, team structure changes, …) Request (additional information, postponement of deadlines, adding / removing tasks, changes in features, …) Convey bad news Convey good news 7
Call at a Glance Pre-call actions During the call Post-call actions 8
Pre-call actions Prepare a clear agenda Send invitation request to all participants well in time Communicate the agenda with relevant members Share relevant documents / reports / links with relevant members Be prepared with all data Go to the call with note book , pen / lap top 9
During the call Start the call with: Small talk List of attendees Introductions Summary (agenda/status) Set the context with proper introduction(s) Follow the agenda Be precise; use correct terminology Take notes and make a list of action items with owners Iterate over the action items before completing the call Speak clearly, well into the microphone 10
During the Call - Basic Rules Be Punctual Make sure you are ready for the conference call a few minutes ahead of time. 11
During the Call - Basic Rules Use Your Mute Button Any type of background noise can be disruptive and can inhibit the clarity of the transmission. WHO is speaking Every time a participant needs to speak they should always begin by introducing themselves. Always Be Prepared Unless your conference call is an emergency meeting, there is no excuse for a lack of preparation from each and every participant. 12
During the Call (contd.) Silence is embarrassing Uncomfortable things: Failures / lack of progress Refusals Interruptions Disagreements Vagueness 13
During the Call (contd.) Successful probing of customer requirements Establish rapport with customer Get customer talking Aim at winning confidence of customer Understand customer requirements carefully Ask questions skillfully, listen actively Seek clarification, minimize scope of ambiguity Double–check main considerations and parameters of customer requirement Re-confirm nature and full scope of customer requirements Probe underlying requirements if any Focus on what the customer wants, not on what you want to give him/her. 14
Post-call actions Send out the meeting notes containing Issues discussed Action items, closure date, owners Open issues Periodic follow-ups for action items 15
Successful Objection Handling Understand customer psyche behind objections Determine exact nature and scope of objections Probe hard to identify specific objections Handle objections with confidence, competence and common sense. Re-assure the customer. Consciously remove fear of losing customer from your mind Take rejection in your stride Be well informed and professional. 16
Successful Negotiation with Customer 1. Be flexible while talking with customers 2. Acknowledge flexibility shown by customer 3. Follow the principle of give and take 4. Be tactful with customer 5. Show a lot of patience and persistence 6. Seek help from colleagues if necessary 7. Don’t get emotionally involved or agitated during customer interaction 8. Never give up your effort to delight the customer 9. Try and achieve win – win position for both sides 10. Never be desperate or defensive 11. Don’t reject customer’s demands outright 12. Present your arguments in a non aggressive manner 17
Phrases Not to Use on Conference Calls Pass the bottle It's your round Can they hear us Don't worry, they can't see us Does he/she ever stop talking I'm glad this is not being recorded Let's agree not to make a decision, then we can have another meeting! 18
Phrases used in nearly every teleconference Are we all on? Can everybody hear me? Did everybody get the agenda? Let’s keep this short We’ll just wait a few minutes Let’s do a quick roll call Sorry I’m / we’re late 19
Tips Use a powerful greeting Stick to the agenda Don't let anyone throw you off track Group participation Recap the main points 20
Always Remember… 1. Distribute a clear agenda in advance of the call and stick to it 2. Send the dial-in number, pass code, and instructions multiple times 3. Always identify yourself when you’re speaking 4. Limit or eliminate background noise 5. Speak loudly and clearly 6. If you don’t have anything to add, don’t add anything 7. End the call on time 8. Close with clear next steps 21
THANK YOU 22
What should you do as a participant on a conference call? Tips on being a successfull participant on a conference call are offered.
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