Are You Telephone Savvy? Part 2: Tips for Strengthening Telephone Etiquette
Are You Telephone Savvy? Part 2: Tips for Strengthening Telephone Etiquette
1. Knowledge: Before you make a call have the required information. 
2. Goals: Know what you want to accomplish. 
3. Attitude: Make the person feel that you're interested in him and the message.

-- Make a great first impression. Show the caller that you're helpful, confident and competent. If a potential employer's first contact is over the phone, she gets cues from your voice. 

You can influence your listener's reactions by controlling the pace, pitch, inflection and tone of your voice.  Strive for an energy level that matches your normal conversation. A soft voice suggests shyness or uncertainty; a loud voice implies anger or worry. Be alert to your caller's needs. If he's having trouble hearing, speak louder, more slowly. 

Speak briskly but pronounce words clearly. When you talk too fast, you sound hurried or excited and are difficult to understand; when you too speak slowly, you sound tired, lazy or uninterested. 

Inflection adds special meaning to your message. If, for example, you say, "--John-- needs help with his resume this afternoon," you're suggesting John needs help. If you say, "John needs help with his resume -- this afternoon, --  your indicating he needs help this afternoon.

Different tones of voice can make us feel differently -- happy, angry, hurt, etc. Keep your tone attentive, interested and friendly. Smiling adds a pleasant tone to your voice.

-- Be courteous. People are turned off by careless or rude remarks. Always say hello and identify yourself. Ask how you can help. Use courtesy words, "Thank you for waiting."  If you need to put the caller on hold, ask, and wait for an answer. If you need to phone back, indicate when you'll call.

End the call positively, for example, "Thanks for calling."  Let the caller hang up first. This gives him control of the ending as well as an opportunity to ask further questions. Don't eat, drink, or chew gum.

-- Leave clear, concise messages. State your name and phone number. Repeat these twice. Give the name of the person you're calling and date and time you called. If the person doesn't return your call, phone again a few days later. For other message skills, review the telephone savvy questions. 

-- Ace the job phone interview. If you're not prepared to speak with an employer who calls you, ask the employer if you can return the call, or if he can call back at a mutually convenient time. This gives you time to prepare. 

Your confidence and career advancement will improve as you hone your phone skills.