Blond woman texting on her phone

Sometimes your most important speaking situations will happen over the phone. You could be talking to a hiring manager, a prospective client, or someone with the ability to open doors for you.

How do you use your public speaking skills to make a powerful impression by phone?

Here are 8 critical tips, taken them from my new book Speak with Impact: How to Command the Room and Influence Others, which comes out in October with HarperCollins Leadership.

  1. Prepare your content. Prepare in advance for your call by asking yourself The 3 Questions (Who is your audience? What is your goal? Why you?). Outline your remarks; this keeps you from rambling and losing your train of thought.
  2. Turn off distractions. Because no one can see you, you’ll be tempted to multitask while on the phone. Unfortunately, we can hear that in your voice. Turn off your notifications and focus on either a neutral sight or look at your notes for the call.
  3. Stand up. Think about how you normally take a call – slumped over at your desk. When you stand up, you increase your energy level and sound more interested.
  4. Smile. The act of smiling not only makes you sound warmer and more confident, it literally makes you feel better.
  5. Breathe. Practicing deep breathing will both calm your nerves before the call and also make your voice sound more resonant and confident. Follow the steps I outline in my Harvard Business Review article.
  6. Use your hands. You naturally use your hands when you talk. Even if no one can see them, gesture with them during the call and the energy will come through over the phone.
  7. Slow down. Over the phone, you have a tendency to rush through your words. Take the time to enunciate clearly and concisely.
    Pause for questions. Since you can’t read someone’s body language over the phone, pause frequently to ask the other person a question. This makes the conversation more interactive.

Try these out the next time you have an important phone call. Using these tips, you can make just as powerful an impression over the phone as you do in person.