• Do you suddenly find yourself on Zoom/Skype/Facetime (insert video conferencing platform of your choice) all day long?
  • Do you need to do conference calls or video calls in English? For work? For connecting with friends and family?

These types of calls can be stressful, especially when you’re speaking in English. And trying to understand what everyone is saying to you through bad connections and wifi that cuts out.

That’s why, for a change, I brought on business English coach, Shanthi Cumaraswamy Streat, to give some advice about how to survive and thrive during video calls and video conferences in English.

Shanthi went above and beyond my expectations for this chat and her advice will enable you to go into your next video call or conference call in English with confidence.

I’ll also add my tips from years of Zooming for giving lessons (individual and in large groups), co-working with colleagues (yes, you can do that on a video call), and doing meetings for work and causes I’m passionate about.

You’ll hear us discuss:

  • practical tips to survive the technical aspects of your conference call with before, during and after tips
  • my mum’s Zoom errors that you don’t want to copy
  • how me and my fellow climate activists have transferred our meetings online and how we manage taking turns on Zoom
  • the crucial role of facilitators, especially in business meetings
  • why you should learn to use the mute button and always wear headphones during a conference call (actually we don’t mention this but it’s a great tip as it reduces echo and makes comprehension easier!)
  • why you should switch on your video during conference calls or encourage others to do so if you’re leading the meeting
  • how to check in on people during the video call in a non-scary way to make sure they’re following ok
  • how to manage nerves and stress before a conference call in English with practical tips and also by reflecting on your communication and the communication of others
  • how to deal with questions during video meetings, whether you’re asking them or being asked
  • my favourite tip – how to deal with not understanding native speakers without apologising or asking them to repeat 
  • how to use questions during the meeting if you’re leading it
  • how to manage tricky communication situations on video calls by reflecting on what you would do in your native language
  • the advantages of business meetings compared to informal chats for your English listening comprehension
  • why we all struggle with formulating questions even in our native language – this was an lesson in having compassion for others for me!

Watch the video:

More from Today’s Guest

If you enjoyed this chat with Shanthi then please take a look at her website and the blog post about participating in virtual business meetings. 

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