It may come as no surprise that many people prefer death over public speaking. With only ten minutes left until your conference call, there’s no turning back now. You may as well take a look at this checklist of last-minute tasks that will help you be as prepared as possible for your big meeting. Or at least give you something other than your nerves to focus on.
Send a Message to Attendees
Your online conferencing provider probably already sent out invitations that were automatically integrated into attendees’ calendars, but it is nice to remind your invitees that you are looking forward to your online meeting, and it’s about to start.
This is also a good time to confirm everyone is clear on how to join the meeting, and ask if they need any last-minute help.
Check Your Conference Call Settings
This may otherwise be known as, “familiarize yourself with your software,” but hopefully you have already spent some time getting comfortable with it before now. Check your mic sensitivity and speaker volume, and the auto-adjust for lighting if your camera has the feature. If not, check the lighting in the room to make sure it is adjusted for optimal video appearance.
Review Meeting Agenda
If you are a super-achiever, go over your meeting agenda while you go through your software’s console functions. This will help you get an idea in your head about how the agenda affects your controls. Will you have everyone muted? Will you have multiple presenters? Will you allow comments or questions? Knowing which features facilitate your plans ahead of time will make multitasking during the meeting easier.
Review Presentation Material
Go over meeting controls during your presentation review as well, especially if you intend to share screens or files. Know your talking points, be ready to back them up, and look up any last-minute support you may want to have.
Warm Up Your Voice and Face
Having the floor for an extended period of time can be hard on the vocal cords. Sometimes you need to project your voice more than you are used to. Spend a minute humming a tune to yourself in order to get your voice primed. Then move on to your face.
Facial expressions drive points home in ways your voice alone cannot. Use this to your advantage, by getting your cheeks, forehead, and lips relaxed and flexible. Your smile and your serious face will come a lot more easily once those muscles start moving.
Depending on how nervous you are, you may be forgetting to breathe altogether. Take a minute now to check in with yourself. Are you inhaling and exhaling at a normal rate? Observe that for a couple of breath cycles, then slow it down. 4 – 7 – 8 breathing is an excellent way to calm down and center yourself quickly.
Breathe in for four seconds, hold for seven, then exhale for eight seconds. Do that at least three times to slow down your heart, and relax those butterflies in your stomach.
Use the Facilities
Pretty self-explanatory. You don’t want to need to step out in the middle of your meeting.
Have you been hydrating today? Drinking enough water is essential to your emotional and cognitive functioning. Give yourself the best odds of a successful meeting by drinking some water before you get started.
Take a spill-proof bottle of water into your meeting with you as well, to prevent your throat from sticking together in the middle of closing a deal.
Take off Jingly Jewelry or Straighten Your Tie
Or both if that’s your style. Jingly jewelry is distracting in a conference call, especially if there is no video involved. Everyone on the other end of the line is left to wonder if someone brought their pet to work today, or if they are just getting their keys ready so they can bolt as soon as the meeting is over.
If you are wearing a tie, make sure it is neat and straight so you look put together and professional.
Smooth Over Your Hair
Appearance isn’t everything, but in a video conference, it contributes to the impression you make at least a little. Take a quick glance in the mirror to make sure there are no wild flyaways.
Of course, you know that a friendly smile in your meeting will help make everyone comfortable, but did you know that smiling can also make you feel better? It will not dramatically change your mood, but the facial feedback hypothesis tells us that smiling may help you perceive an experience as more positive.
Anything is worth a shot when you are getting ready to walk into an important conference call. So take one last deep breath, smile, and you’re on. Go get ‘em!