Business calls and potential cold calling can be hit or miss and in order to present both yourself and your business well your phone etiquette must be on point. Ever called a prospective client or store and the person on the other end sounded a little more than lacklustre and as if they were heading for a snooze, heck, the other person might have been you. It certainly was me a number of times, until I figured out what I was doing wrong.
So, get it right, it could lead to that signature on a deal you've been waiting for and get it wrong... - actually with our help there will be no getting it wrong. Here are 10 tips for perfect phone etiquette.
10 Telephone Etiquette Tips
1. Now we all know that we can hear someones mood through the phone right? So, smile when you make that call or are answering one. The other person will here your warmness through the line and it will make for a very positive first impression.
2. Be prompt with the timing of scheduled calls. If the call has been scheduled for 1:00pm then you call at 1:00pm prompt. Not a minute sooner, and not a minute later. Capeesh?
3. Hello...Didn't Adele go on for a little too long, to the point that we are sure the guy on the other end must of hung up on her? Do not ramble. There are times when I have had a telephone meeting that I assumed would last 30 minutes - but went on over an hour because the other person had far too much irrelevant things to say. Get to the point. Get the important information out and save the less important info for a quick email.
4. Okay, now a conversation is a two way street, somewhat like dancing right? We are not to step on our dancing partners toes nor try to take the lead if we are not expected to. The same goes for phone calls. Allow the other person to tail off when making a point, pause, and then take the mic. Sounds simple right? But you wouldn't believe the amount of phone meetings I have had where we have both begun talking at the same time, which then creates an awkward pause, then we both go on to say "sorry, you go on" at the same time. Awkward.
5. Always use a cool, calm and pleasant tone. If you've just got off the phone with your partner, bank manager, or mother who has annoyed you and then begin to dial the number of your client, forget it. Drop the phone, press red...and give it 30 minutes. Re group and call when you are in a calmer and more focused mood. (This only applies if your call does not have a scheduled time obvs)
6. Try at all costs not to use the speaker phone during a call, as this can sometimes give the person you are speaking to the impression that they do not have your full attention and could also lead to very uncomfortable situations. Just imagine the person you are speaking to mentioning something not so nice about your boss who is (as luck would have it) standing right next to you. Now that would be awkward.
7. Do not answer the phone if chewing. (Big No-No)
8. As much as our schedules can get the better of us - try to return calls that have gone to voicemail within 1-2 days max. Nobody likes to be forgotten and people will move on to the next if their needs are not being met.
9. Do not leave messages with random people. If you are not speaking to the designated person, their assistant or answer machine then forget it. Your message will probably be dumped in the trash or forgotten.
10. When finishing a call always ensure that the person called hangs up first - a little weird I know, but it just adds to leaving them with a positive perception of yourself. Do not rush into slamming the receiver or hitting red. End the call with a little grace and professionalism.