Keep this easy-to-use guide nearby when leading conference calls for “Best In Class” online communication. When you have questions, let us know and we will be happy to help!
1. Invite discussion with open-ended questions.
Use open-ended questions to spark conversations. Watch out for the use of closed-ended questions because they often lead to dead space. This happens in face-to-face meetings but is even more likely when your meeting is online. The virtual world lets people off the hook because closed-ended questions are asked to no one in particular. Plus, closed-ended questions, while useful when you’re moving to a new topic, do not naturally lead to interaction, understanding, feedback, and retention. To illustrate the types of closed-ended questions you want to avoid, take a look at the following:
- “Are there any questions?”
- “Does anyone want to add anything?”
- “Does everyone understand?”
- “Is everyone okay with this?”
On the other hand, questions about opinions and experiences are easier for more people to answer. For example:
- “Sarah, what are your thoughts about…?”
- “Tony, do you agree? Let us know your reasoning, either way.”
- “Mark, do you think the same is true out there in San Francisco? Why or why not?”
2. Use names as you ask a question.
Using the names of the people on the call helps everyone know you will keep them involved. This keeps everyone alert and also allows you to “spread the love” to show equal treatment and no favoritism.
3. Decrease your role as purely an “Information Provider.”
Increase your role as a “Facilitator”.
4. Use the PRO Skill before delivering technical info.
The PRO (Prepare, Read, Obtain Feedback) skill allows you to establish your expectations for the type of responses you want to receive and then move directly into obtaining feedback.
5. Sending out questions/issues in advance.
If you expect to hear feedback, prepare people before the call.
6. Use Round Robin more often.
Establish a question or topic and then request each participant to respond. This interactive technique is an easy way to get everyone involved in the discussion.
7. Share your agenda.
Invite strong participants to deliver a portion of the material. This elevates you to the position of expert to oversee the information being reviewed.
8. Remind the team of the power of a culture of communication.
The “Spirit of Collaboration” is a value to foster.
9. Make it safe to respond.
Affirmations/validation will shift the culture by reminding them that it is okay to share thoughts and give feedback.