"Talking Teleconferencing recommends increased use of pauses to keep everyone hearing and understanding," one reader commented. "But I've often experienced the opposite. A pause seems to be an invitation for someone else to jump in. And once that happens, it may be difficult or even impossible to wrestle attention back to what I was saying."
Oh, yes. A teleconference strips away many of the clues we rely on when we communicate—facial expressions, for example, and body language. How can you maintain a balance between giving others on the call sufficient time to absorb your comments but also making sure you get those comments said? Here are some suggestions:
- Introduce your remarks with a message that includes a "count," such as, "The second version of the slide deck seems more compelling to me for two reasons," to signal that you won't be finished until you’ve given both.
- Should you be interrupted, try to recapture attention with a redirect—saying, for instance, "That is a possibility we need to address, but first I'd like to return to my second point."
- Practice word economy by being as clear and succinct as possible.
- Shorten your pauses just a little more.
What you don't want to do is to talk faster and faster like a train speeding down a track. Should you pick up too much speed, the other participants may not understand you at all. At the least, they will be numb to any nuance you may be trying to express.