With our world becoming more and more global, it’s likely that at some point you will have to conduct business or hold a meeting over the phone or over Skype. While this can be convenient when you are unable to travel to a certain location, it’s easy to feel as though your conversations online are not the same as meeting in person. It might be harder to convey your professional goals and you might feel as though you seem more unprofessional when you can’t physically meet with someone.
Here are some ways you can get your message across while hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Dress the Part
Even if you are unable to meet in person, you should act as though you are. Choose something to wear that comes across well on the screen. You should look just as professional as you would if you were in a business interview or at a professional meeting with the person there in the room. Your business partners or employers will notice that you’ve made the extra effort to look presentable and will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to look your best.
Choose Your Setting Wisely
You will want to take some time to find a quiet location where you won’t be interrupted. It can seem incredibly unprofessional when someone walks into your shot or they can be heard over the phone. Eliminating the chances of this happening can make your phone call or Skype session go much more smoothly. Consider letting others in your home or at your office know that you will be unavailable during the time of the call and that you will need to be undisturbed.
Have the Documents You Need Already Pulled Up
Like any business meeting, you will want to have your notes in front of you. If you are on a business call, make sure you have your handwritten notes or your computer nearby. When on a Skype call, you should already have the required documents you need pulled up so you don’t have to click through a number of files in order to find the information that you need. Having everything you need right in front of you shows that you are engaged even though you are far away.
Speak Clearly and Use a Pleasant Tone
When you are unable to meet in person, it is hard to convey your passion for a project or how you feel about your role without body language. In fact, studies show only 20 to 30% of communication is verbal, which can put you at a clear disadvantage when you are interviewing over the phone or your boss can only see your face. Speaking loudly and clearly can help to get your message across and using a kind, pleasant tone can express interest even if you can’t show it.
Be On Time
Like any face-to-face meeting or event, one of the most important aspects of being professional is being available before the meeting even begins. Try to “arrive” five to ten minutes before your phone call in order to properly set things up so you aren’t rushing right before. That way if there are any technical difficulties on your end, you have time to fix them before the call comes in. Showing up on time is just as important when you are conducting a meeting or interview digitally or physically—it shows that you have respect for the other person’s time and that you are taking this meeting just as seriously as you would if you were meeting in the same room.
As with any other business meeting or interview, it is crucial to remember that common sense is key to doing well. With a little consideration beforehand, you are likely to have a successful phone or Skype call—the person on the other line might even forget that you’re not there.
Written by: Alex Schnee