Preempt the Pack and
Close the Deal
Suppose you have correctly determined that you have strong capabilities to serve a particular group and the meeting planner would like to arrange a conference call. When I am faced with having to favorably influence a selection committee, and a conference call is suggested, I'm all for it. I am confident that in as little as 10 minutes I can convince everyone on the line that I am the speaker person for the engagement.
The phone is no substitute for being there in person. However, your speaking style and vocal power can be very persuasive. It is to your advantage to present to the committee “over the phone” precisely because they can't see you—you can have notes all over your desk to ensure that you make the right points.
When I have a choice, I go first. Studies indicate that the first candidate in a selection process has a statistical advantage, all other things being equal. Also, you have the opportunity to preempt the field. You might be so impressive by phone that the quest to interview other speakers diminishes markedly. Busy committee members may have been dreading the entire selection process all along—preempt and win!