How comfortable are you doing presentations?

How about presentations over the phone? Since you’re not looking the audience in the face, phone presentations are even more challenging because body language is removed from the range of cues available to convey your messages and gauge audience reactions.

Having seen some challenging presentations delivered recently via conference call, here are 7 tips for presenting over the phone:

  1. Never miss an opportunity to speak in the first person (we vs. you). Take advantage of opportunities to put yourself on the same side as the audience, particularly with controversial topics or unfamiliar audiences.
  2. Check in frequently to solicit comments or verbal acknowledgement on the depth, pace, and content of the presentation.
  3. Silence is okay – don’t be nervous about it or try to fill it up unnecessarily. Give audience members time to think and absorb the content.
  4. If someone wants to cover something out of sequence, go ahead and cover it; don’t say you’ll cover it later and go on. It’s no different than when a customer’s ready to buy - you need to close the sale.
  5. Try to interpret the real meanings behind questions. Without visual cues, you have to be more perceptive than normal to understand a question’s origin and the answer being sought. Answer what the person’s really asking, even if it’s not what they asked directly.
  6. Don’t over answer questions. Instead, answer briefly, check in verbally to see if you’re on target, and get “permission” to continue the answer if necessary.
  7. If you haven’t heard from an audience member on a reasonably sized call, specifically ask for comments and reactions before getting off the phone. Don’t let any participant off the hook without saying something, even if it’s to say, “No comment.”

Try these out and call to let me know how they work!