Telephoning Tips and Techniques


In a business environment, the first contact you have with a customer is often over the phone. He or she will be forming an opinion of you from this first contact. It is very easy to give a poor impression by being disorganised and unprofessional in the way you use the phone. However, by using it effectively you can appear very sharp and competent.

Here are some of the tips that allow you to present yourself in the most professional way:

– Learn key vocabulary and phrases

There are certain standard words and phrases that come up again and again on the phone. Learn them and make sure you use them when telephoning.

– Have an aim

Before placing a call, have a clear and specific objective or purpose of what you are trying to achieve.

– Be prepared

Always ensure that you have all the documentation you need to achieve your purpose. This saves both your time and the time of the person you are talking to.

– Start and finish well

A confident and professional opening is important. Say who you are and why you are calling. At the end of the call, remember to thank the other person.

– Speak slowly and clearly

Your voice is your personality over the telephone. It makes an immediate impression that can portray you as friendly or distant, confident or timid, spontaneous or mechanical, relaxed or nervous.

– Make sure you understand the other speaker

Do not pretend to understand everything you hear over the telephone. Even native speakers ask each other to slow down or repeat and confirm information from time to time.

– Create a positive atmosphere

Smile when you are on the phone. The person on the other line can hear it in your voice. Remember to be polite to everyone that you speak to.

– Limit social conversation

Social chat may be pleasant, but taken to extremes it wastes time. It can be intensely frustrating if you have a lot of work to do.

– Answer the telephone by the third ring

This is the norm for efficient business organisations. You will appear unprofessional if your phone rings many more times than this. If you pick up a phone that has rung many times, then apologise to the other person.

– At the end of a call, summarise the points made

This ensures that both people agree on what has been said, and know what action will be taken.