In the wake of COVID-related remote work and telecommuting, many people now have to present over the phone via teleconference to audience members who are not in the same room with them, and in fact, may be in different countries or time zones. While the essential rules of presentations still apply, there are seven specific steps to take to ensure that your presentation over the phone is effective and that you can convey your message within the time limit:
1. Use the power of your voice.
Over the phone, there is no opportunity for eye contact, gestures, posture or movement, so the only nonverbal communication you have is your voice. Vary your volume, tone and pitch to convey your meaning and keep the audience's attention.
Even though the audience cannot see your facial expression, they can "hear" it – when you smile, it sounds like you are smiling. Use a mirror so you can be aware of your facial expressions and how they affect your energy and voice.
3. Stand up and move.
You have to convey more energy and enthusiasm than you would in person and moving around helps.
4. Number your slides/pages.
If you are using documents or slides, make sure they are clearly numbered so people can follow along with you. And mention the page or slide number that you're on as you go through the presentation.
5. Use more slides than usual.
If you're using slides, it's a good idea to use more than during an in-person presentation so you can keep the audience's attention by changing slides more frequently. (However, that doesn't mean you put more on each slide).
6. Build in interaction.
It's a good idea to build in some interaction so you can ensure the audience is engaged and paying attention. For example, ask questions or have them write down a few points to help them remember.
7. Check the logistics first.
Just like you check out a room's logistics before you present in person, make sure you've tested the teleconference logistics before the call. Figure out if you will have the ability to mute all callers or individual callers, how you will handle any technical difficulties and what will be your backup plan if the phone connection gets dropped or is unclear.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to get the results you intend from your phone presentation, rather than allowing the technology or the distance to become a roadblock to your success.