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Designing Phone Conferencing that’s Effective, Efficient, and Emotionally Intelligent:
Skills, Structures, and Strategies
for Mastering the Medium, the Message, and the Meeting

How often are your conference calls an effective and efficient use of meeting time, when management, professional staff, colleagues, consultants, customers, and/or clients all believe they are on the same productive and collaborative page?  And in an increasingly telecommuting, TNT – Time-Numbers-Technology – driven and distracted world, this question is mission critical.  Alas, too many phone conferences are self-defeating exercises, cycling between “waste of time” passivity and boredom, while the desktop becomes a covert setting for multi-tasking distraction, invariably exacerbated by black hole monologues and awkward silences.  Are clear direction-facilitation and group ground rules required?  Will an interjection be defined as an interruption or perceived as the team not being on the same page?  Can you really connect to a client when you can’t see their nonverbals?  For even experienced hands, trying to lead electronically often creates a surge of anxiety.  And one’s usual communication presence in a live, face-to-face meeting may undergo significant change when it’s all on the line…whether phone, Internet, or video conference.  (Not unlike how an email can quickly morph into an "e-missile!")

Clearly, this is a medium with great potential for misguided intentions and misunderstandings; and Type A or adversarial cultures along with intellectual, medical, financial, and technological agencies, companies, or institutions are often ripe for ego-driven showmanship or a competitive sideshow.  How can “Message Sent become Message Received” and successfully acted upon with genuine buy-in?  And if this electronic meeting process is a regular source of stress, frustration, and disconnection it impacts relationship-building, productivity as well as morale…and, of course, your bottom line!

Still have no fear, Mark Gorkin, LICSW, the Stress Doc ™ is here – whether in a live workshop or a webinar – to illustrate and demonstrate skills, structures, and strategies that will meaningfully strengthen the “Four ‘C’-ing” quality of Communication and Connection, Collaboration and Coordination of your next phone conference/meeting. (And these “hands on” concepts have powerful application for a variety of media formats and meeting forums.)  Here are the Top Ten Phone Conferencing Skills, Structures, and Strategies:

1.  Take Time for Pre-Conference Call Planning, Direction, Agenda Setting, and Conference Norms
2.  Be Aware of the Obvious Challenges of Phone Communication esp. when Time Is Limited
3.  Find “Small” and Meaningful Areas of Personal and Cultural Connection
4.  Connect to Pain and Passion Using Client’s Words and Language
5.  Deliver Meaningful Messages in Organized and Colorful Chunks and Short Personal Stories
6.  Beware the Monologue – Learn to Pause, Check In, and Ask "Good Questions"
7.  Be Conscious of Self-Other “Hot Buttons” and Exaggerated Sensitivity
8.  Listen to Feedback; Strategically Assess, Don’t Simply Launch or Counterattack
9.  Design Time for Mutual Strategizing and/or Summarizing
10. Don’t Forget Your In-house Debrief

Through high energy, thought-provoking, personally insightful, and Fun presentation, “Designing Effective, Efficient, and Emotionally Intelligent Phone Conferencing” will revitalize your next phone conference/meeting.  Consider these testimonials from a recent HR.com Conference Webinar by the Stress Doc on “Managing Stress and Conflict”:

I felt very comfortable while listening to this presenter as he integrated useful information in a personal way which was very appropriate for this topic. This was a great presentation with a very professional and likeable presenter. Sharon

Very informative talk and valuable tools to go forward with. Enjoy the presentation style and real-life examples increasing the retention of information learned. Many thanks for your generous time spent presenting. Jim

Don’t miss your appointment with the Stress Doc!

[The “Top Ten Phone Conferencing Skills, Structures, and Strategies” were first enumerated in my essay, “Surviving the Conference Call Battlefield: Skills and Strategies for Successful Small Group Phone Conferencing – Part II”:

Click here: Stress Doc: Notes from a Motivational Psychohumorist ™: Surviving the Conference Call Battlefield: Skills and Stra
or
http://www-stressdoc-com.blogspot.com/2012/06/surviving-conference-call-battlefield_14.html

Email stressdoc@aol.com for Part I of this series]

Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW
The Stress Doc ™

301-875-2567 www.stressdoc.com
stressdoc@aol.com

Google blog: http://www.blogger.com/home


Mark Gorkin, the Stress Doc ™, www.stressdoc.com, acclaimed Keynote and Kickoff Speaker, Webinar Presenter, Retreat Leader and Motivational Humorist, is the author of Practice Safe Stress and The Four Faces of Anger. A former Stress & Violence Prevention consultant for the US Postal Service, the Doc leads highly interactive, innovative and inspiring programs for corporations and government agencies, including the US Military, on stress resiliency/burnout prevention through humor, change and conflict management, generational communication, and 3 "R" -- Responsible, Resilient & Risk-Taking -- leadership-partnership team building. Email stressdoc@aol.com for his popular free newsletter & info on speaking programs.

Stress Doc Mantra: "Think out of the box, perform outside the curve (the Bell Curve) and be out-rage-ous!"