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Do you feel awkward telephoning a new work contact for the first time? Developing effective phone skills — to be able to call to confirm an appointment or ask for an interview slot or anything else — is essential for career success. But since we live in an age of information overload, there is no predicting how the person on the other end will react. He may be hostile, choose to hang up, may ask you to call later or may be quite accommodating.
Time is at a premium and people are stressed out. Given all this, nobody wants to attend to that unexpected call during a busy day. But with a little planning and preparation you can make a good impression over the phone even and achieve the objective of the phone call. Heed these tips. i. Choose a good time Put off making business calls when you’re too distracted or tired to give it your all. You have exactly one opportunity to make a great first impression and you will not make it if you are not prepared. You need to be full of positive energy about what you are doing/ asking otherwise your voice will sound dull with no power to persuade or move the listener into action. Smile when you talk to people on the phone — it will show up in your voice. Remember: enthusiasm is infectious. Think you are calling a friend.
Let your voice be natural, calm, relaxed and easy-going. Try not to keep the other person on hold fora long time. If possible avoid it altogether. If you are making the call, you should have all the information readily available and not keep someone on hold. If you can’t help her right away, tell her you’ll call back — then do so. ii. Opening the call Eliminate any disturbing background noise if possible. Open the call with a standard professional greeting depending on the time of the day. Mention your first name, organisation, and purpose of the call clearly and be as direct as possible. Don’t beat around the bush; it can be very irritating. It’s a good idea to rehearse saying the person’s name several times BEFORE the phone call. This will help with any pronunciation problems and also personalise the call. Remember to get his/her title right.
Ask if this is a good time for you to be calling when you reach someone. If not, ask when you can reach them again. You will be surprised how many people you can actually get to talk to if you call first thing in the morning. Do not keep repeating their name during the conversation but stick to the rule of saying the listener’s name three times during an 8 to 10 minute conversation. Leave brief, clear messages on answering systems, giving your name, reason for the call and contact information. Don’t forget to leave your phone number, even if the person has it, so she doesn’t have to look it up.
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