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Telephone Time

Before calling, plan what you want to accomplish with the call and make notes on key points.

Make sure your voice is pleasant. Smiling will help you sound friendly.

Speak clearly and enunciate every word precisely.

Speak slower than you would if you were meeting in person since it takes people longer to process auditory messages.

Use courteous and respectful language; never be rude, regardless of the provocation.

Keep your greeting brief. Identify yourself and your reason for calling. Ask if this is a good time to talk. Be willing to reschedule the call.

Focus your attention on the other person.

Update your brief voice-mail message daily so people know the best times to call you.

If you leave a message, state times when you can be reached by phone.

Always leave your phone number and area code. Don’t make the other person look it up. If you have time zone differences, mention this.

Ask permission before putting someone on hold and explain why it is necessary. Never put people on hold for more than two minutes. Thank them when you return to the phone.

Don’t record, long, cutesy voice-mail messages or greetings that sound unprofessional.

Avoid side conversations and interruptions while you are on the phone. If you must take care of something, ask permission to leave the call for a brief moment—then keep it brief.

Do not type on your computer keyboard, read e-mail/mail, eat, drink, or chew gum while on the phone.

Always turn off cell phones (and pagers) at meetings, in theatres, and when dining. If you must check calls as they come in, turn the phone or pager to vibrate mode. If you must answer the call, excuse yourself and go to a secluded area.

Never carry on a cell-phone conversation so that it disturbs others or makes them feel less important than the person you are talking to.



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