When engaging in a face-to-face conversation, people rely on non-verbal cues to determine how to phrase a response or formulate a request. Because you can’t see non-verbal cues during a phone conversation, communicating only via voice is a bit more complicated — especially if your phone call is business-related. Fortunately, certain business phone etiquette practices can help make every call a productive one.
Etiquette tip #1: Start with a friendly opener
One of the most crucial aspects of a business call is the introduction. If you leave a bad first impression, the rest of the call will not go smoothly. Dawn Rosenberg McKay of The Balance recommends introducing yourself by your name and position in the company, whether making or receiving a call. This will help callers determine who you are and if you are the individual they want to speak with.
Etiquette tip #2: Mind your tone
Throughout the call, you should maintain a consistent tone of voice. According to Schweitzer, that tone should be serious yet enthusiastic but can adapt to the situation at hand. You don’t want to sound chipper when your client is speaking about a problem of theirs.
Another aspect of your tone is your speaking volume. Vivian Giang of Business Insider recommends making your voice clear and full to be heard without it being too loud and domineering.
Etiquette tip #3: Remain calm
To practice good phone etiquette, you should remain calm and composed throughout the call, even if the person on the other end becomes agitated or upset. In many lines of business, you will have to deal with angry customers and clients. Andreas Rivera of Business News Daily claims that responding to anger with a similar response is one of the worst things you can do during a call. Instead, you should remain calm and try to address the client’s concerns. This will help to deescalate the situation and get the call back on track.
Etiquette tip #4: Pay attention
The single most important part of a business call is to pay attention. If you are not devoting your undivided attention to the call, you won’t be able to properly address the concerns of your clients or business partners. McKay warns that while it may be tempting to multitask, you should avoid doing so. Other work-related tasks can wait until after the call is over.
If an issue comes up during the conversation that requires your immediate attention, ask the person on the other end of the call if it is OK to put them on hold. Charmayne Smith of the Houston Chronicle points out that putting someone on hold without asking their permission is considered rude and will likely ruin the call.
Etiquette tip #5: Finish strong
As your conversation comes to a close, you want to make sure you stick the landing,. . Schweitzer suggests that you ask your client or business partner on the other end of the line if they require anything else from you. This will hopefully jog their memory if there is something that they forgot. If you need to follow up the call with an e-mail or message, keep it short and simple. McKay says that an excessively long message is more likely to be ignored.
Business calls can definitely be intimidating. With the right etiquette and attitude, you can walk away from the conversation more confident in how you conveyed your message.