Effective Telephone Skills from Successfully Speaking

In today’s global workplace, we often conduct business by telephone and never meet our client or colleagues face-to-face. Numerous preliminary job interviews are conducted on the telephone; some with web cameras and some without. Many of our clients who have foreign accents claim that telephone communication is very challenging since they don’t have the body language and facial expression to help communicate their message.

We make our first impression with our three V’s: Visual (how we look), Vocal (how we sound), and Verbal (what we say). However, when using the telephone, although we lose the visual element, we shouldn’t completely rule it out. Smiling and using appropriate posture will help your voice and tone sound its best.  Your voice takes on added importance when the listener cannot see you. The listener is forming impressions by how you sound and what you say. Make sure your voice matches the professional image you want to project:

Here are some tips for using the telephone:

  • Smile.
  • Stop what you are doing before you pick up the receiver (talking to co-workers, laughing).
  • Use a friendly greeting, e.g. Hello, Good morning (be aware if you are speaking to people around the world).
  • Identify yourself and your organization (if it is work-related). Don’t assume they know who you are, even if they have Caller ID.
  • Ask if it is a convenient time.
  • Monitor your tone of voice and rate of speech.
  • Eliminate distractions (eating, drinking, email, computer use, texting).
  • Be a good listener; don’t interrupt and periodically respond with acknowledgement (okay, uh-huh, I see).
  • Consider what message you are communicating if you choose to use a speakerphone (too busy?  multi-tasking?).
  • Use an appropriate closing; plan for follow-up.

Check out our latest video on Effective Telephone Skills


Contact Successfully Speaking for information about our workshops and training at 410.356.5666 or lkwilner@successfully-speaking.com.