Having a good phone manner is incredibly useful and a great skill to cultivate. Most of us will speak on the phone several times a day, and we do this not only to catch up with friends and relatives who don't live locally, but also to speak to companies, make bookings and chase up payments - all things that require us to sound confident and professional. If you can improve your phone manner then, you can probably improve your relationships while at the same time saving money and getting more done. Here we will look at some great ways to improve your phone manner.
The most basic courtesy when you call someone in a business or colloquial context is to introduce yourself and to state your purpose for calling early on. Likewise when you answer you should say either your name, the end of your number or your business name. If you are calling a friend then you might just say 'Hi it's Jeff, how are you?', or if a business calls you you might say 'Hello, 3899'. Come up with a way you want to introduce yourself and then use it consistently.
This is something they teach to telesales staff and helpline assistants. If you smile then this can often subtly alter your voice enough to be picked up unconsciously. This in turn will make you sound more upbeat and pleasant to speak to and it will help to create more of a rapport.
Likewise when talking on the phone you should sit up straight or stand with a good posture. Again this can subtly affect your voice (not least because you'll be puffing your chest out more), but at the same time it will also make you feel more professional which will affect the way you deal with the person on the other end.
Don't Fear the Silence
As a rule, everyone hates the awkward silence. This problem is multiplied several times over though when you speak on the phone as there are no non-verbal communication elements. However you mustn't let a fear of silence force you into making awkward conversation when it's not necessary, and actually learning to 'use' that awkwardness can help you in a number of settings. If you are negotiating a price, or arguing with a service provider who has let you down, then staying silent is often a great strategy to help you get what you want. The first person to talk in a negotiation will often lose.
Babbling is something that can make us sound less professional in a number of settings. By speaking more slowly on the phone you will not only sound clearer, but you will also sound deeper, more intelligent and more confident.
As with anything, practicing can help you a great deal to improve your ability to speak on the phone. Try making as many calls as possible until you get used to it, and listen to your own voice back occasionally to see where you're going wrong.
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