If you want to advance your career, you need to be comfortable speaking up and voicing your opinion on conference calls.
This is easier said than done for Sensitive Strivers.
As big feelers and deep thinkers, many Sensitive Strivers struggle to speak up and be heard on conference calls. They may feel talked over by their dominant colleagues. They tend to perseverate over saying the “right” thing and are fearful of coming off as uninformed.
At best, this hesitancy detracts from your ability to contribute. At worst, it erodes your visibility and your confidence along with it. The more you hold back, the less likely you are to be seen as a competent, effective leader.
Getting your voice heard in meetings isn’t just a struggle for junior employees. In fact, I’ve had senior executives and leaders at nearly every leading company seek out coaching to improve their confidence while communicating.
Why Conference Calls are Challenging for Sensitive Strivers
There are a few reasons conference calls, in particular, are a challenge for Sensitive Strivers versus in-person meetings:
Lack of visual cues
Without real-time, non-verbal feedback, your brain goes wild. You mentally “fill in the gaps” and assume the worst – that people aren’t receiving your message or they’re judging you negatively.
Requires more assertiveness
Sensitive Strivers tend to be reserved and they are more comfortable sitting back versus butting into a conversation to offer a point. Conference calls also require you to push back if someone interrupts or starts talking over you, which doesn’t come naturally to Sensitive Strivers.
There’s a lot to juggle on a conference call. You’re simultaneously trying to navigate technology, remember your key points and monitor the audience’s response. All this can leave your sensitive brain overwhelmed and distracted, which makes it harder to listen, be present and find an opportunity to jump in.
Nevertheless, your quiet, reserved nature doesn’t have to hold you back from making a contribution. You need to be able to react and respond off-the-cuff with greater ease and make yourself visible on calls, even if it’s uncomfortable at first (and it will be!).
In fact, your unique style, nuanced insights, and thoughtfulness is what position you to provide value and be the leader your team needs.
12 Ways to Be Heard on Conference Calls
GET TO KNOW THE PEOPLE IN THE “ROOM”
REVIEW THE AGENDA
TALK TO THE ORGANIZER BEFOREHAND
KEEP A CHEATsheet
One advantage of conference calls is that you can keep notes open on your computer while you’re speaking. Use that to your benefit. Write down your high-level bullet points or questions you want to ask and keep them front and center during your call.
BUILD ON OTHERS’ POINTS AT FIRST
ACCOUNT FOR DEAD AIR
STAND UP WHILE YOU TALK
Stand up when you speak or use a standing desk (if you’re not on video). Doing so will allow you to get more breath in your lungs and speak with deeper resonance, which subconsciously signals power. Because air and energy can flow through your body, you’ll sound and feel more authoritative. Standing up can also help you stay focused and embody confidence.