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7 Tips for Proper Phone Etiquette

My Phone

Treat a phone call (or Skype session or Facetime communication or whatever) the same as you would treat a face-to-face conversation.

1) Identify yourself and ask if it is a good time.
If you are calling without an appointment, immediately identify yourself with your first and last name and what business or organization you're representing, then clarify if the current moment is a good time to talk.

NOTE: If you are still cold-calling people, now is a good time to re-think your business strategy and the effectiveness of reaching people who have not expressed an interest in you or your company or products or services.

2) Pay attention to the caller.
If your mind is wandering, you are surfing the Web, texting, scanning written material, or you are doing some other activity, it is equivalent to doing this during a face-to-face conversation: the height of rudeness. Pay attention to the caller and make sure to focus on what they are saying.

3) Do not type on the keyboard (unless you are taking notes).
If you are taking notes on the keyboard, make sure to inform the caller you are doing so. Otherwise, they will think you are typing something that is not relevant to the conversation: again, the height of rudeness.

4) Smile.
Your conversation is meant to be polite and to communicate information. Keep a smile on your face and it will help relax you and facilitate a positive feeling about the call. If the conversation degenerates into name-calling, shouting, cursing, or negative emotion, remove yourself and say you'd like to schedule the call for another time.

5) Keep your mouth clear.
No eating, drinking, chewing gum, biting on pencils, or other activity that can be overheard. Acoustics are excellent on most phones, so everyone on your call will hear whatever is happening with your mouth.

6) Give and take.
A conversation means one person speaks, and then the other person speaks. Wait until the other person has finished speaking, and take a moment before responding. Oftentimes, the person/s with whom you are speaking will need to formulate their ideas and verbalize them - give them a moment.

7) Exit gracefully.
Upon wrapping up the call, outline any salient points, and explain what the follow up will be (a memo sent to all call participants with next steps, scheduling the next telephone meeting, etc.). Then actually follow up.

People will always remember the way you make them feel - by being attentive, understanding, and warm on the phone, you will help smooth the way for future business or personal interactions.

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