Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How to talk on the telephone

I’m kidding, right? You have to learn how to talk on the telephone?
Well, yes apparently. We talk on the phone all the time, but I’ve noticed people just flow all over the place.

There is a telephone etiquette: Don’t be rude, don’t be abrupt or too fast, don’t give away too much information, don’t ramble.

Answering the phone. In office life, and in countries like Germany and Switzerland, you answer the phone announcing your name, so the caller can immediately identify whether s/he reached the right number. As in, "Dunkel" or "Dunkel residence."

In much of the rest of the world, the phone is answered, Pronto, Bueno, Allo, Hello – which basically indicates: we have a connection, proceed.

Identify yourself. Don’t just start talking, assuming the other person recognizes your voice. You’re not that special. And often, a hello doesn’t register.

If it is a business call you would say, “Hello, this is Elizabeth Dunkel. I’m calling to speak to… about …..”

If it is a personal call, identify yourself as well. I don’t care how well you think the other person knows your voice. There's nothing more annoying than answering the phone and someone says, "Hi," and I'm left wondering, okay, who is this? So I finally say, “Who is this?” and the other person is offended because I don’t recognize them.

Be polite. Don’t just say, “Is Joe there?” Too abrupt. Get out of my way buster.
Chat for a minute. “Hi, this is Elizabeth. How are you?” Chat a bit and then ask for Joe.

Don’t just say, “wrong number” and hang up. The phone will ring five seconds later with the same wrong call and you’ll be bothered again. Ask the person, “What number are you trying to reach?” And when they tell you, you reply, “No, you have reached xxx-xxxx,” and they will understand what they marked incorrectly, or that they simply don’t have the proper number.

Don’t ever start a phone call with, “Who is this?” That is rude and abrupt.
Imagine. Your phone rings. You answer it, only to hear, “Who is this?”
When someone does that to me, I turn the question around. They need to identify themselves first, they’re the ones who called me. So, I say, “The question is, to whom would you like to speak?”

People have lives. Feel free to ask, “Is this a good time to call?” And if not, “When is a good time for me to call?” Feel free to say, “I’d really like to talk to you but this is not a good time for me to talk, can I return your call?

Be concise. Don’t ramble. Say, “I’m on my cell, I’m lost, can you look up a phone number for me?”

Always end your phone call with the words, “Thank you so much for your call.” Or, “Nice talking to you.”

See, that wasn't so painful, was it?

No comments: