Think through what you plan to discuss
Make notes about what you want to cover and any questions that you want answered or that may come up for you. Be prepared as to how you will answer them. Prepare a specific, succinct message should you receive voicemail. Include in your voicemail your name, the time of your call and a brief message letting them know the subject matter you wish to talk with them about and articulating your contact information slowly.
Monitor your tone of voice
It is important to convey confidence without coming across as aggressive or pushy. Sit up in your chair or stand to engage your diaphragm. You will come across with a stronger voice and thus more authority.
Identify yourself at the beginning of the call
- From your cell phone answer “Hello, this is your name
- From the office answer “Hello/Good Morning, _______ Department, your name speaking
- When making a call always state your name along with the name of the person you are calling. I.e. Hello, my name is your name from _____Corporation. May I please speak with _______?
State your name and number at the beginning and end of the message
Make sure you say your phone number slowly. It is one of the most important pieces of information in your message and I am always amazed at how many people rattle it off with lightning speed, often mumbling the numbers so they are unintelligible. I recommend stating your name and number at the beginning and again at the end of your message. There are few things more frustrating than to have to listen to an entire message a second time just to get the phone number.
No interruptions or distractions during your phone conversation
Give the person on the phone the courtesy they deserve. They should take precedence over someone who breaks into the call via another call, text, or comes into your office to ask a question. If you must break away excuse yourself to the caller and let them know you will be right back. Then when you return apologize and thank them for holding.
Turn your cell phone off
Taking a phone call during a meeting of any kind, especially one with friends is rude. If you really must take a call let whomever you are with know that you are expecting a call and then excuse yourself to take the call. When you return apologize to the person or people you are with and turn the phone off for the remainder of your meeting together. If you are expecting a call but know that you have a meeting, let the caller know that you will not be available during the time period specified but will check your messages as soon as you are free and get back to them.
Do not use speaker phone unless you notify them ahead of time
Do not answer the call on speaker phone or put someone on speaker phone unless you notify them that you need to do it for a moment while you type some of their information or get what they need or they need to speak to several people at once. As soon as you can get them off of speaker phone and thank them for their understanding.
How you behave on the phone sends a huge message to people as to your interest or lack thereof in them. Make sure you treat people with the respect they deserve. Your conversations do not need to be lengthy but they certainly do need to be courteous and respectful. This includes conversations with friends. If you would rather talk with one friend on the phone instead of having dinner with the friend you are with, then don’t schedule the dinner. The friend you are dining with deserves your attention. If you don’t think so, they are not a good enough friend to have dinner with in the first place. Remember you are showing who you are at all times. Make sure you put forth the best representation of yourself.