November 15, 2012

Leadership Tip: Phone Call Etiquette

I spend a great deal of time on the phone as part of my business. One of my clients is a nonprofit organization that requires me to regularly seek out donations via the telephone.

How you project yourself over the phone or in a voice message says quite a bit about you. Avoid sounding unprofessional with these basic rules on phone call etiquette:
  • Greetings: - Always begin or answer a call with a greeting such as hello, good morning or good afternoon. It gives the other person on the call a little time to get ready to listen, and avoids having to repeat yourself. And as my Mom would tell you, it's also just polite.
  • Be Considerate: - Always ask, "Is this a good time?"
  • Be Enthusiastic: - Your voice reflects your attitude and speaking with enthusiasm adds a smile to it. You can project confidence in your voice when you stand up during a phone conversation. Standing up also keeps conversation short.
  • Closing: - End on a positive note that makes the person you're talking to feel good. Something as simple as, 'It was a pleasure talking with you.'
  • Leave a Message - State your first name and last name, title and company, the time and date of the call, and the phone number where you can be reached. Briefly express the purpose of the call. If necessary, tell them the best time to reach you, repeat the phone number and end with a simple, 'Thank you.'.
Villagers, do you have any other phone call etiquette tips to share with us?



Hi there Villager,

One very important point is to eliminate background noise...this includes music playing or television noise or children talking.

Background noise tells the person on the phone that they are competing with music or a show.

I can't tell you how many people stop to talk to their children repeatedly while they are on the phone speaking with someone. It's rude, rude, rude.

I also think that voice volume is important to monitor. People who are talking on their phones outside tend to speak loudly in the phone when it's not necessary.

It's best to ask, "are you able to hear me clearly?" and use a soft tone than to start raising your voice while assuming that the other person can't hear.

The last point I will make is to pay attention to a person's cues on the phone...if a person says, "well I need to run", THAT is a cue to stop talking and end the conversation...not to say "well let me tell you one more thing and I'll let you go.."!


Also... I think it is rude to have long musical interludes as voicemail greetings.

I know one minister who puts a 3-minute sermonette on the voicemail every week. Now, I'm a minister and I even think that is obnoxious.

Unknown said...

BWBTT - Those are excellent additions to the list! I work out of a home office with music or television usually playing ... and I keep the mute button close so that I can turn the sounds off when I'm on the phone.

We don't teach 'manners' enough to our young people any longer. That is a shame.

TZONE said...

I usually hang up when the person starts an extended conversation with someone else in the background, call me while their music is loud in their car and keep saying "What did you say?", or I just dont answer when I know that the caller does not have a concept of time i.e. calling me at work around 10 am and think its cool to talk for 3 hours about random things that have been repeated from previous conversations.

Unknown said...

TZone - I feel ya'! Phone call etiquette is even more important now that we have more and more people operating strictly with cell phones (without land-lines). Thanks for sharing!