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Verbal Dexterity: Talking the Talk » Blog Archive » Giving Good Phone

Giving Good Phone

While not as over-utilized as e-mails, a significant percentage of business does take place over the telephone. Good telephone skills can make a difference to a business deal, interview or social interaction (why don’t we teach this to kids in school?). Here are some basics:

1) Make sure that your equipment is of good quality (that $3.00 knock-off you bought from someone at a Flea market may not be of the highest quality) Otherwise, this can give new meaning to the phrase that “talk is cheap.”

2) Prepare to speak in a place where you can hear and be heard (Note to file: avoid Led Zeppelin reunion rehearsals or baby changing stations).

3) Avoid eating or drinking during call (you don’t think that we can hear you slurping that power drink, but we can. Heck, we can almost smell that pepperoni you had for lunch!).

4) If it’s only you and one other person on the call, avoid using the speaker-phone (you’re not impressing anyone).

5) Have bullets points pre-written and in front of you, so that you can make sure that everything gets covered.

6) Take notes while you are on the call. You really won’t remember a blessed thing 30 minutes from now.

7) Never put the other party on mute while you are listening. One quick and unexpected question to you and you will be so busted (been there, done that).

8) Have likely-to-be-referred-to materials nearby (it’s always good to avoid blurting out phrases like “hmmm… I know I put your memo somewhere in my gym bag”).

9) Don’t have a second conversation with someone else while you are on the phone. Give the person on the other line your full attention (nothing breaks the flow of a good call quicker than one party suddenly blurting out “hold the mayo, but extra cheese on mine”).

10)Always end with a polite and respectful sign-off and make sure that you are disconnected before you discuss the call with your associate sitting next to you (many a deal has fallen through due to comments made by one party while the other party was still on the line—a syndrome that I like to call “premature articulation”).

Today’s Tip: Always keep all of your business contact info (telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc.) in at least two separate databases/locations. Otherwise, you will be only one computer meltdown away from a personal meltdown.

Today’s Question: What is the strangest thing that you ever heard in the background of a business call?

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