Make sure guest speakers are heard

We recently had a reader email me this question:

Do you have any tips for speakers to make sure they speak clearly and loud enough to be heard by our guest participants?

Here's what I answered:

It sounds like you’re dealing with a regular flow of different guest speakers.  You’re faced with regularly repeating the same experience without a solution. Here’s what I’d recommend: TEST BEFORE THE CALL. Ask each new guest speaker to join you on the conference call 10-15 minutes BEFORE guests start arriving. You’ll be on ‘the bridge’ with just the guest speaker and you can make sure their phone settings are appropriate. And there’s enough time to take corrective action if needed. You can sell this added step as a favor to them. You want to insure their message, their presentation, is delivered with the highest quality sound. And to do that, you ask them to call in a few minutes before the guest callers arrive to test their phone’s settings. They should appreciate that attention to their time and needs. Here’s a few standard procedures we encourage our customers to follow: START WITH HOUSEKEEPING REMINDERS. We encourage all our customer hosts to include a housekeeping or listener reminders that include basic operation details including:  the length of the call, how Q&A (if any) will be handled, expected follow-up steps after the call and courtesy tips including: GUESTS MUTE THEIR INDIVIDUAL LINES. Remind your callers to mute their individual lines to help insure there’s no distracting noise from their location heard by the other guests. All phones are very good at picking and sharing surrounding sounds. HOST SHOULD MUTE ALL GUEST LINES. You, as the host, have the ability to mute all guest lines. We recommend that prior to the guest speaker’s presentation you mute all guest lines to minimize any background distractions. Guest often forget and put their lines on hold or they don’t realize the dog barking in the background is heard by all. Mute all guest lines prior to the start of the presentation. ADJUST THE VOLUME: Remind your guests at the start of your conference call each listener can adjust their listening volume to fit their needs. I hope this helps. And if we can help in any way with your conference calling needs, please let us know.