Professional phone calls are an important part of
communication in the workplace. They are a great way of building client
relations, gaining trust and communicating effectively. Making your first few calls,
however, can be intimidating. Nerves can get the better of you, meaning you forget
key details and favour hiding away in emails in the future.
A few helpful hints can help you overcome these nerves and
make sure your professional phone calls are productive and enjoyable. Here are five
things to bear in mind to make your phone calls in the workplace a success.
Make a Clear, Confident Greeting
This may sound obvious, but whether making or receiving the
phone call, it is vital that you introduce yourself quickly and clearly. Say
hello, give your name and company, and (if you’re the caller) let the recipient
know why you are calling.
Doing this makes life easier for the person you are
conversing with and gets the conversation off on the right foot.
Remember This Is Not an Email
Being brief and to the point is great in an email. It allows
people to access information easily and efficiently. Approaching a phone
conversation in the same manner, however, can come off as abrupt or cold. This
is not the impression you want to give to clients and colleagues.
To avoid this, remember to conduct the phone call like a
normal conversation. Make small talk and ask how the other person is, rather
than jumping straight into your work. This will allow the conversation to flow
naturally and help to build a good working relationship with the person on the
Make sure you speak slowly and clearly throughout your phone call so that you are audible at all times. It is important to be as accurate as possible, especially when asking someone a question or if you need to quote a reference number.Smiling and remembering to breathe regularly can help you maintain a good speaking voice throughout the call. If you find you tend to speed up or become unclear whilst speaking, it may be worth practising in front of a mirror or with a friend to improve.
Structure Your Call
Whilst it is important to be pleasant and polite on the phone, remember to keep your call on topic. It can be easy to get distracted during conversation and lose track of what you are saying. Doing so can waste valuable time and leave the person you are speaking with feeling lost or annoyed.
Before making your phone call, think about the reason why you are ringing. What do you need to get out of the call and how will go about doing this? Some companies, particularly if you are working for a telemarketer, will have procedures for how to go about this. If not, create your own by noting down what you need to say during your conversation. Make a flowchart of how you want the conversation to move on and use this as a prompt whilst on the phone.
Clarify Any Follow-Ups and Give a Clear Sign-Off
At the end of your conversation, summarise what has been
said and clarify what, if any, follow-up actions have been identified. This makes
all parties clear on what happens next. It is a good idea to write
down all action points as they are summarised during the conversation, so
they are easy to remember at a later date.
After this summary has been made, remember to give a clear
sign-off to the people you have been speaking with. Thank them for their time and
Got any hints for how
to make the best of professional phone calls? Let us know on Twitter @viking_chat.