It's the simple things that people take for granted - from the smile on someone's face on a busy day to the lovely morning greeting from the neighbor. Telephone etiquette belongs to this list. Today, many don't see the value of maintaining good manners while talking to a person on the other end of the line.
But it's important to practice proper telephone etiquette. Not only because of who the person on the other end is (what if it is the president of the company, or your most respected professor?), but because it's only right to treat other people in the way you'd want to be treated.
If you want to improve your telephone etiquette, consider the tips below:Open with a pleasant greeting.
A simple "good morning" to follow a "hello" can make a huge difference, especially when coupled with sincere enthusiasm in your voice. It starts your phone conversation on the right note, and makes for a more relaxed atmosphere. If you're speaking to someone angry for example, greetings can help tone the tension down.Be alert.
Be conscious that you're dialing the right number, so you would not disturb people. If you dialed the wrong number, apologize immediately. If upon re-dial, the same wrong phone is reached, confirm if you have the right number.Be mindful of the time.
If the purpose of the call involves a business agenda, keep the calls within office hours. Unless it's an emergency, don't make calls before 7 in the morning or after 10 at night, as these are the times when people are asleep or are still resting. Note different time zones when making international calls.Go straight to the point.
Respect people's time; call with an agenda in mind. This is especially true for business calls; you don't want them to drag forever. Engage in short small talk if you must, but go straight to the point. "So Mike, this is why I'm calling..." Busy people would appreciate your consideration.Be respectful and wait.
When the phone you're calling is not picked up immediately, wait awhile. The person at the other end may be busy, or in the middle of another call. Standard is to wait 8 rings before dropping the call, and to redial up to three times to get a response.
Similarly, don't make other people wait for you! Sometimes people have to be put on hold; when this happens, 30 seconds max should be enough. If you really can't take a call, then offer to call them back later. Remember, good telephone etiquette means knowing that the world doesn't revolve around you.
Say goodbye nicely.
End the call with a "thank you." If you're not sure if the conversation has ended, you may ask "is there anything else I can do for you?" If they say none, then that's the cue to summarize important points discussed in the call and offer a pleasant closing. Don't just hang up in the middle of a conversation; it's the telephone equivalent of closing a door in someone's face! Even if the conversation had been unpleasant, telephone etiquette demands that you maintain your cool and avoid slamming the phone down.
Though all our lives have become more rushed, that is no excuse not to practice good telephone manners. Follow the tips above and you should find people like to deal with you and your company.
More on the etiquette of phone calls
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