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10 telephone etiquette tips you should keep in mind

January 14, 2016 11:30 IST

When you're speaking over the phone remember to smile, sound upbeat and keep your communication short.

The telephone is perhaps one of the most helpful inventions of the eighteenth century.

Though technology has advanced over the years, making way for e-mails and chats; for most of us, telephonic communication continues to be the most convenient way of making a conversation.

However, when you're speaking over the phone, there are certain barriers that come in the way which also need to be taken into consideration.

Let us look at 10 tips that will help you communicate better over the phone:

How to communicate over the phone

 

1. Greeting

Just like a face to face conversation, the other party in the telephonic conversation expects you to open the conversation with a nice greeting.

It is suggested that you begin the phone call with an appropriate greeting like Good morning/Afternoon depending on which time of the day you are calling.

Do not answer by using words such as "yeah" or "yes."

2. Take permission and be polite

A polite word or two always helps in bringing warmth into the conversation.

While it is very important to take permission to speak to the person you have intended to call, one should always remember to use a polite tone.

Use phrase like "May I please speak with___________".

Remember to be sensitive to the tone of your voice.

Do not sound overly aggressive or pushy.

It is important your tone conveys authority and confidence.

Do not lean back in your chair when speaking on the telephone.

Try to record your own conversations. You will then hear how your sound to others.

3. Identify self and the organisation

The most common mistake that people make during a phone is call not identifying oneself.

It is considered inappropriate and can also lead to miscommunication, always introduce yourself before getting into any conversation; telephonic or face to face -- that's the thumb rule!

4. Clarity

The good old 7Cs of communication will always have an impact on how you converse with people, very important to remember and include the first "C" i.e being clear.

Do not use broken phrases.

Always use a clear, crisp and simple language.

5. Purpose of the call

Before making a phone call, be sure of the purpose of the call.

Think through exactly what you plan to say and practice before you place the call.

Jotting down the items you want to discuss and questions you want answered can help in making a smooth conversation

6. Know your timeline and keep it short

While speaking on phone, you are not in front of the other party; hence it is very important to ask if the receiver has enough time to speak to you.

Respect the person's time and ensure that the conversation gets completed within the given timeline.

7. Avoid fillers and keep it interesting

Filler words -- like um and uh -- are never written into a speech, and add nothing when a speaker utters them.

During a telephonic conversation, a filler word sends a signal to the other person which says "I'm still thinking, and I'm not willing to pass the conversation back to you just yet."

This only conveys that you are confused and still thinking of what to say next.

8. Smile through the phone

Keep a 'smile in your voice.'

Sound upbeat and enthusiastic about the chance to speak with the caller.

Adults pay more attention to the tone of your voice than they do to the words you use.

9. Find some quiet place

Communicating over the telephone is much more effective when both parties can hear each other clearly without background noise.

Plan to make your call, whether it's for work or just to catch up with an old friend, at a time in which you are not required to attend to any other business and ensure that there is no disturbance around.

Blaring noises, such as the television or road traffic can interfere with both your listening and communication skills, making it difficult for a conversation.

10. Summarise, paraphrase and close

There are various benefits of summarising and paraphrasing, it helps you to reaffirm what was discussed during the phone call.

So if there is any information which needs to be changed or altered, the other party has an opportunity to add on.

Always end the call with a pleasantry like -- "It was pleasure speaking with you" or "You have a nice day."

Lead image used for representational purposes only. Image: Reuters Photographer

The author Manisha Sachdev, head-training, ITM Group of Institutions.

Manisha Sachdev