Don’t Forget Your Phone Manners – Phone Etiquette 101

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Have you ever been on a phone or conference call and there’s the one person who has the loud background noise? Or what about when someone leaves a voicemail that you can’t understand or is too long?  Most of us have experienced one or the other in some capacity. In the past, we have shared tips on email etiquette and think it’s only fair (and since we promised), to follow up with tips on good phone etiquette practice.

  1. Background noise

Whether you are having a phone conversation, leaving a voice message or recording your voicemail greeting, your background should be quiet and in a room that a) does not echo and b) has good cell signal so that your message is not choppy.

If you have small children, try to schedule your calls during a time when the kids are in school or napping.   What about pets?  If you have dogs, try to schedule your calls when there is the least activity in your home, or simply kennel them in a separate room during the time of your call.

  1. Voicemail

Write out your script for your voicemail greeting and say it out loud.  The least and most basic information you should provide are: your name, business and expected turnaround time for returning calls.  When recording your voicemail, be sure your greeting is clear and not too long.  If you are out of the office for an extended period of time, let your callers know that as well and when you expect to return to work and when they should expect to hear back from you.

  1. Honor call time

It can be frustrating and make your work day longer when phone calls go over time.  Decide that you will call the other person.  This will help you get the call started on time.

Be prepared.  Prep for your call beforehand by taking some time to think about the purpose of your call and then outline an agenda.  Your agenda should include main points you want to hit, questions and action items after the call.

Keep an eye on the clock.  If the other person goes off on a tangent, don’t be afraid to kindly say “I don’t mean to interrupt, but I want to make sure I honor our call time. You make a great point, can we talk about this on another call or discuss over email?”  and then transition over to the next point.

We hope that these tips will help you feel at ease about your next call starting and ending on time as well as help your message come across clear to your receivers.  Do you have any advice to share with us on phone etiquette? We would love to hear from you!

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