Tips for improving your telephone etiquette

March 30, 2011

While e-mail may be the new go-to method of communication for most people in business these days, phone conversations remain an integral part of business life.

There are countless benefits to keeping regular phone contact. For starters, phone calls have a more intimate touch than e-mails. This makes phone calls one of the fastest ways to build a relationship with your associates, prospects and clients.

So naturally, businesses should want their entire staff to keep their telephone skills honed and sharp. To that end, we have come up with six tips designed to help anyone upgrade their telephone skills:


Exude confidence. Your voice reflects your level of confidence, which is the phone call equivalent of a firm handshake or direct eye contact. The first step to strengthening your confidence is to make sure you know all there is to know about your product or service. Expertise breeds confidence, which will show during your conversations.


Exercise clarity and brevity. People only have so much time to spend on the phone, so it is important to keep calls short, sweet and to the point. To achieve this, it’s best to have a preplanned agenda to follow for those important calls. Just be sure not to be too rigid in your structure — leave some flex room to keep the conversation casual.


Use the person’s name. Using a person’s name in conversation, especially more than once, is a great way to build rapport. The more at ease the person you are speaking to feels, the more receptive they will be to your phone call. Plus, it is a great way to remember a person’s name. Conversely, sounding impersonal will cause someone to feel as though they are just another name on your big list of people to call.


Remain enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is generally contagious. If you can remain enthusiastic during a phone call, there is a pretty good chance the person on the other end of the line will get as wrapped up in it as you are. Besides, how can you expect others to get excited about your product or service if you are not?


Add some humor. Being humorous helps keep things conversational and not overly formal, stiff or generic. Humor can be tricky, however. The right amount needs to be applied so that the conversation does not become saturated with it. Furthermore, humor needs to be in good taste, not to mention relevant. Random jokes will come off as jarring and strange.


Keep your cool. In other words, relax. While less intimidating than a face-to-face meeting, phone calls still make some people feel nervous. Instead of focusing on your apprehension, try to explore positive angles. All the while, take deep, even breaths to get oxygen into your blood and help you level out.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @CarnegieJersey.

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