effective telephone conferences

Effective Telephone Conferences

Effective Telephone Conferences

This is the seventh part of our series about meetings. For today’s post Yvette and I are sharing our thoughts with you concerning the dos and don’ts of telephone conferences and we’re providing you with some useful phrases.  

Let’s get started !

Believe it or not, telephone conferences or telcos or telephone meetings are still a thing, as not everywhere in the world the Internet is as good as necessary to have a video conference.

Consider these three aspects when planning your virtual meetings:

  • Everyone has a phone and can call in, but not everyone has the hardware, software or technology for video conferencing.
  • Telephone conferencing is something people have got used to over the past years, even though other simple technology such as zoom for video conferencing is available.
  • And finally without the need to travel you can reach many people all over the world and discuss your issues with them.

Let’s share our experience…

Now we’ve picked a few points we’re sharing with you here. Some of these points our students have shared with us after facing their challenges.

Technology problems

This is a very common issue for many people. Be it a software or hardware problem or possibly a bad connection, these phrases will get you through:

  1. When a participant has been disconnected
    We’ve lost him/her.
    He/she has been cut off.
  2. There’s a problem with the volume.
    Sorry, please speak up.
    Please speak into the microphone.
    There’s an echo/some background noise/static.
    How about dialling in again?
  3. Remember to say that it has improved or not.
    That’s a lot better now.
    I’m afraid it hasn’t changed.

Dealing with not seeing but only hearing the others

This aspect can make communication a lot more difficult for many people, however, several different accents will intensify the experience. So concentration and focus are what you need together with these phrases:

  1. Dealing with several different accents
    Could you please slow down a bit.
    Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re telling me.
    I’m afraid,I didn’t catch that.
  2. Further use clarifying phrases in order to check your understanding
    I’ve understood that …
    Are you saying that …
    If I’ve understood you correctly then…

Dealing with distractions

Let’s face it and this is true for all of us. You’re a lot more prone to distractions, as the other participants can’t see you, you will start doing other tasks on the side. Please, get rid of these distractions such as responding to a short email quickly, finishing a presentation or just texting dinner arrangements with your loved one. Those tasks can wait as once you’ve started one thing you’ll think of the next one to do. If you’re not ready to listen and participate actively, then why are you taking part? Make sure you’re not going to be distracted by others, by noise or by devices. Putting up a “do not disturb” sign on your door can be very helpful. If you mention on the sign that you’re in a conference call and when the call will possibly be over, it will be even better.

Identify yourself

This point is essential for telephone conferences with many participants. One of the main differences to face-to-face meetings is, you need to identify yourself before you start speaking and to mention the person’s name you are addressing. Do not just start talking out of the blue, wait till it’s your turn. This will help immensely with the communication. In case you are like me, a visual person, I can recommend this strategy for you to try: write out the participants names on a sheet of paper with their responsibilities and where they are from. Place this sheet in front of you. If you have a picture of the participants, you can place it above the name. Now every time one of the participants is addressed you can then look at the information you’ve written down and concentrate on what that person is saying and you might have a picture of him or her as well. One final point about taking part in telephone conferences from home. Please make sure your family and pets aren’t going to walk in on you and disturb you. 

So, there you have it!

These are the four points from our and our student’s experience, which you need to consider for telephone conferences. What about you? Do you have any you’d like to add? Then please just schedule a call with me click here to schedule a call and tell me about it. Are you interested in other business English skills? Then check out the post about listening here and about using your voice effectively here

One more thing

Yvette and I have a podcast called “Your English Podcast”.  You can find it on iTunes and on Spotify sign up for it, so you don’t miss the next episode.

Are you on social media? Let’s connect on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. 

Take care


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