18 January 2012

Phone Impressions - Do AND Do Not - There is no try

Have you ever had such a cringe worthy phone conversation with a person that you flinch every time their number comes up on caller ID. In a society where telephones are everywhere -in fact somebody took my IPhone from me to make me finish this article - it can be hard to distinguish between talking to the person sitting next to you and the person on the other side of the world.


What we sometimes forget is the amount of information that does and does not transmit over this not so new fangled technology and how messages are perceived at the other end.


Here are some handy dos and don'ts on making a first impression over the phone.


  • Don't nod. I can't hear you nodding. To show you agree, try saying yes or okay.
  • Don't eat. A it's gross and B I'll be more concerned with working out what you're chewing on then what you're doing
  • It's a strange social rule but also fairly commonly accepted. Don't pick up the phone before the first couple of rings. It's like cutting the music half way through the time warp.


  • Do - Always return phone calls in a timely fashion. If you have bad news, take the band aide approach. If you have no news it's good to stay in touch just to let the other person know you haven't forgotten.
  • Do - Make a list of things you need to speak about if the conversation is long or complicated
  • Do - Have a pen or pencil ready
  • Do - Pronounce clearly when it's important - Spell if it's complicated.
  • Give the name of your company and your title - Cryptic is weird and may result in a call back fail whale
  • Do - Start professional and friendly. You can also become more casual but it is almost impossible to shift somebody's perception of you from too casual to professional.


Happy telephoning!