Vincy Workplace
January 18, 2013

Ten ways to sound good on the phone

Did you know that you can feel someone’s smile through the telephone lines? Listen to the next several calls you receive or make, and observe the emotions of the people through the phone lines.

All business phones should be answered with such enthusiasm that the caller should be able to feel the smile through the lines and that should apply to all employees, not just the front desk staff.{{more}} There are always excuses as to why proper phone etiquette is not used. Here are a few:

  • The caller caught me off guard
  •  I thought it was an internal call
  •  I’m tired, you don’t know how many calls I’ve already had today
  • I already sound professional for the kinds of people I deal with daily
  • That phone script is too long, people will cut me off
  • This place is too small, I’m not giving my name on the phone

Those excuses have no validity. The telephone is to be respected as a business tool and used as such. Proper use is a direct reflection on the business and an individual’s ability to project a professional image. As a refresher, review the phone tips below and practise each and every day.

1. Do not answer your cell phone when you are supposed to be working. It’s rude and inappropriate, as you are no longer giving 100 per cent to the job if you are chatting about your personal life.

2. Answer on the second or third ring. This lets the customer know you truly value their business and you are there to serve.

3. Answer in a business-like manner: “Good morning/afternoon, give company name. This is John Smith. How may I help YOU?” Too many people do not include the YOU. It makes the greeting more personal. This way the caller is sure of what company he/she has reached and with whom he/she is speaking. Remember to speak in an audible voice. Don’t race through it.

4. Speak in a moderate tone of voice. Don’t announce to the world that you are on the phone by being overly loud.

5. Keep background noise to a minimum. That includes not holding conversations with other people in your office while on the phone. This is rude to your caller.

6. Sound pleasant. You are still in a business environment. It’s not what you want to do, it’s what you are paid to do.

7. Don’t take calls right before going into a meeting—you’ll arrive late and the caller will be hurried. Change your message if you are going to be away on vacation or out of the office for long periods.

8. Return calls within 24 hours.

9. Keep your voicemail message professional. State your name, department and ask the caller to leave their information and say how quickly you will return their call (within 24 hours, as soon as possible, etc.)

10. Use speakerphone only with the permission of the other caller(s).

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to
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