The Lost Art of Office Telephone Etiquette

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The act of using a telephone and talking to someone through the phone line is so normal, that most people fail to observe proper manners when doing this customary act. Here are ten practical tips you need to reflect on for a more effective and ethical telephone communication:

Preparing for the call

Although most people make phone calls on a regular basis, for those important business calls, doing the groundwork will facilitate a much smoother communication between you and the person on the other line. During your preparation, focus on the key points you need to cover to avoid missing out on any important information.

Getting off on the right foot

The opening of your phone conversation is often a good indicator of how the entire phone call will turn out to be. Thus, starting right is of utmost importance. You can use a variety of polite greetings to start the conversation or introduce yourself as necessary that will impress the person you are speaking to. If you’ve done your ground work, then you may have notes on the person’s situation to enable you to ask them specifically about their new job/baby/project etc. Just make sure you do this genuinely, so that the other person does not feel like they are listening to a voice prompt or a sales person.

Establishing rapport

In business calls in particular, rapport is essential to win over the other person on the line, whether you are talking to a fellow industry professional, an elderly woman, or a young man. Try to be empathic and establish common ground if you can, as the more they feel comfortable speaking to you, the more interested they will be in what you have to say.

Going on-hold

There may be times where you are interrupted while talking to someone on the phone, or when you need to go and check details in the middle of the call. Hopefully by doing your preparation beforehand, this should be minimal, but it may still happen. This can be one of the most frustrating parts of a business phone call, so make sure you politely explain to them the reason for putting the conversation on-hold and keep the time away from the call short.

Efficient call transfer

Often you need to direct callers to another line on the office phone system, based on their enquiry. Just make sure you speak to the colleague you are transferring to first and pass all the information and details, rather than just transferring blindly and making the person on the other end have to repeat all of their details twice. It also allows your colleague to be prepared so that they won’t be caught off guard with the phone conversation they are about to participate in.

Speaking clearly

This is true not just for phone calls, but in conversations in general. Your capability to speak clearly and get your message across is important to ensure a successful communication system, regardless of the medium used. Despite the advancements in communication technology, your ability to speak clearly is the most focal point in being fully understood.

Achieving the proper tone

Voice toning is a nonverbal factor that shows your personality to the person you are speaking with on the phone, as well as allowing you to communicate your message and sentiment effectively. Make sure you keep the tone professional, positive, upbeat and helpful in order to avoid being misinterpreted or emit the wrong impression.

Speak positively

Your positive attitude is most evident in your choice of language and wording. Therefore, choose your words carefully and avoid speaking without thinking about what you are about to say.

Listen attentively

One of the most important points of any conversation is the ability to listen. You learn so much if you listen to the words, tone and pitch of the person you are speaking to, and this can help you to develop the conversation and to be more effective in giving the other person what they need, making the entire exchange much more efficient.

Overall you just need to think about how you would want the conversation to go if you were on the other end of the call. Treat the person on the end of the line the way you would want them to treat you, and establish respect and dignity.

If you struggle to take the calls that come into your office and could do with an extra pair of hands, our team of professional PA’s are all trained and happy to field incoming or take on the outgoing calls for you, just get in touch to find out more.