8 Telephone Etiquette Tips

Whether at work, at home, or on your mobile phone, here are 8 solid telephone etiquette tips everyone should be displaying at all times.

1. Always identify yourself at the beginning of all calls.

A) When in the office, always answer a telephone by saying: “Hello/Good Morning, Accounting Department, Syndi Seid speaking.”

B) From a cell phone, either simply say Hello, or state your name, Hello, Syndi Seid here.  Do not answer by using words such as “yeah” or “yes.”

C) When placing a call, always state your name along with the name of the person you are calling. Example: “Hello, my name is John Doe from XYZ Corporation.  May I please speak with Ms. Jane Smith?”

2. Be sensitive to the tone of your voice.  Do not sound overly anxious, aggressive or pushy. It is important your tone conveys authority and confidence.  Do not lean back in your chair when speaking on the telephone.

Tip: Sit up in your chair or stand during the conversation. When at home, use a personal tape recorder to privately record your own conversations.  You will then hear how your sound to others.

3. Think through exactly what you plan to say and discuss BEFORE you place a call.

Tip:  Jot down the items you want to discuss and questions you want answered.  In other words, anticipate and expect you will be placed into a voicemail system; plan your message to be as direct and specific as possible, asking the person to respond to specific alternatives or questions.  Do not say, “Hello, it’s Syndi, call me back.”  At least state the subject about which you want the person to call you back about.

4. Do not allow interruptions to occur during conversations. Do not carry on side conversations with other people around you.  The person on the telephone takes precedence over someone who happens to walk in your office or passes by while you are on the phone.

Tip: If you must interrupt the conversation, say to the person, “Please excuse me for a moment I’ll be right back.”  And when you return, say, “Thank you for holding.”

5. Especially when leaving messages, speak clearly and slowly. Do not use broken phrases, slang or idioms. Always, always leave your return telephone number as part of your message, including the area code . . . and S-L-O-W-L-Y, including REPEATING your telephone number at the end of your message.

Tip: Practice leaving your number, by saying it aloud to yourself as slow as you have heard an informational operator say it.

6. Build the habit of always turning off your cell phone ringer when entering a meeting, restaurant, theater, training class, or other place where the purpose of your visit would be interrupted or others would be disturbed by hearing your cell phone ring.

Tip: If you are expecting an important call, inform the caller you will be in a meeting during certain times and state you will monitor your message indicator for when it illuminates you will excuse yourself to leave the meeting and return the call.

7. Always speak into the telephone receiver with an even and low tone of voice.  Especially when speaking on a cell phone out in public, be sure to monitor how loud you may be.

Tip: Move the phone ear piece just slightly away from your ear and listen to yourself speaking. Discover whether you are speaking too loudly or too quietly for the other person to hear you.

8. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by other activities while speaking on the telephone, such as rustling papers, chewing and eating, working on the computer, or speaking with someone else.  Most importantly, do not use a hand held cell phone while driving. Get a headset or speaker phone for the car.

Tip: Always treat every caller with the utmost courtesy and respect by giving him/her your undivided attention.

Question:  What other items do you have to add to this list?  Do let us hear from you by locating this article at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com/blog.  You may also reach us at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com.  If you enjoyed this article and want more, subscribe to our “Etiquette Tip of the Month” newsletter—at no charge—filled with great monthly tips on all sorts of topics from international business and social etiquette and protocol to everyday life subjects.  It will be great to have you as a member of our happy family of subscribers at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com/subscribe.

Happy Practicing!

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51 Responses to “8 Telephone Etiquette Tips”

  1. Syndi Seid says:

    Rahul: First, callers should always identify him/herself at the onset of all calls. Beyond this by old fashioned etiquette rules, you would address a person whom you don’t know as Mr. or Ms and their last name. When a caller is a salesperson who only identifies him/herself by their first name, then I just use that single name given to personalize my interest in hanging up quickly.

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