Modern phone etiquette

Do you ever stop and think about how you come across on the phone?  We do so much of our communication these days in the office through email and text messages that sometimes the art of conversation is lost.

People will make assumptions within 60 seconds about your education, background, ability and personality, based on your voice.  And not only does what you say count, but how you say it.  That doesn’t give you a lot of time to come across professionally.

It may not seem fair but hey, we all judge people by their phone mannerisms.  Here is a little refresher on how to improve your phone etiquette:

  1. Try to answer your phone within three rings if possible.
  2. Identify yourself when you answer the phone, “Good morning, this is _____speaking”.
  3. Have a smile on your face when you answer the phone. As crazy as it seems, people can hear a smile in your voice.
  4. Speak clearly, slowly. If you are naturally a fast talker, this may be harder to do (it is for me!).
  5. Actively listen to the other person – that is not typing emails, eating lunch or engaging in other distractions – people can tell if you aren’t fully taking part in the conversation.
  6. Always be polite and courteous on the phone.
  7. Speak with confidence.
  8. When away from your desk, forward your phone to voice mail and make sure to check your messages often.
  9. Return calls promptly.
  10. Remember to treat others as you wish to be treated on the phone.

Once you are conscious of how you come across on the phone, you will sound more confident and professional.   In a judgement-based society, confidence and professionalism are a good thing!


Dana Sebal has over 10 years Marketing and Human Resources experience.  Outside of her professional career, Dana’s passions include her family, rowing, running, tennis, skiing, yoga, and Beagles.

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