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How to Improve Your Telephone Manner

Phone skills lacking polish? Make a professional impression with the help of these steps.


  • Step 1: Personalize your call Greet the other person by name, and use their name often. Ask how they are doing before you talk business.
  • TIP: Keep notes in your directory or rolodex to help you remember personal details about the people you speak to frequently.
  • Step 2: Smile Smile. Even though the other person can't see you, you will sound friendlier and livelier. Stand up to make yourself sound more energetic.
  • Step 3: Don't chew gum or eat Don't chew gum or eat while on the phone. The resulting sounds are amplified for the person on the other end.
  • Step 4: Avoid noisy peripheral activity Avoid making noises such as those resulting from typing or shuffling papers. The other person may think you're not giving them your full attention.
  • TIP: Ensure your environment is completely free of background noise, such as television and other conversations.
  • Step 5: Provide pleasant transitions Ask the person's permission to place them on hold. If you've had to place someone on hold, thank them for holding when you return to the line.
  • Step 6: End the conversation on a pleasant note End the conversation on a pleasant note to ensure a friendly final impression.
  • FACT: In the mid-20th century, mnemonic devices were used to represent the first part of seven-digit telephone numbers, which were thought to be too long to remember otherwise.

You Will Need

  • A telephone
  • A directory or rolodex (optional)

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