In today’s fast-paced business world, effective communication is crucial to success. One of the most common forms of communication in the business world is speaking on the phone. Whether it’s to discuss a proposal, negotiate a deal, or simply exchange information, the phone remains a popular choice for business communication. However, with the rise of digital communication methods such as email and instant messaging, some people may overlook the importance of proper phone etiquette.
This is where the skill of speaking on the phone in business communication comes in. In this context, it’s not just about picking up the phone and talking; it’s about how you present yourself, what you say, and how you say it. Knowing how to communicate effectively over the phone can help you establish and maintain positive business relationships and achieve your desired outcomes. In this article, we’ll discuss the dos and don’ts of speaking on the phone in business communication and how you can use this skill to advance your career.
1. Dos and Don’ts of Speaking on the Phone in Business Communication
- Identify yourself and your company when answering the phone.
- Speak clearly and professionally.
- Listen actively to the other person and ask clarifying questions.
- Keep the conversation focused on the business at hand.
- Take notes to ensure you don’t forget important details.
- Follow up with an email summarizing the discussion and any action items.
- Use slang or casual language.
- Interrupt the other person while they are speaking.
- Eat, drink, or engage in other distracting activities while on the phone.
- Multitask or be distracted by other things.
- Use your speakerphone in a public area where others can hear the conversation.
- Be late for scheduled phone calls or meetings without prior notice.
- Make a habit of receiving personal calls at work.
- handle a rude caller openly at the service desk or call center.
2. Techniques for better business communication while speaking on the phone
- Prepare for the call by outlining your objectives and key points.
- Find a quiet place to take the call to avoid background noise.
- Speak with confidence and clarity, avoiding filler words and phrases.
- Use the caller’s name to personalize the conversation.
- Be an active listener by focusing on the caller’s words and tone.
- Confirm your understanding by paraphrasing and summarizing the caller’s points.
- Take notes to remember important details and follow-up items.
- Avoid jargon and technical language that the caller may not understand.
- Use positive language and avoid negative or confrontational language.
- Speak at an appropriate pace and volume.
- Use appropriate tone and inflection to convey meaning.
- Stay focused on the conversation and avoid multitasking.
- Allow for pauses and silences to give the caller time to respond.
- Use open-ended questions to encourage the caller to share information.
- Repeat key information to reinforce understanding.
- Use visual aids such as diagrams or flowcharts to clarify complex concepts.
- End the call by summarizing key points and the next steps.
- Follow up with an email or written communication to confirm agreements and next steps.
- Practice active listening and empathy to build rapport with the caller.
- Show appreciation for the caller’s time and contribution to the conversation.
3. Handling Rude Callers
- Stay calm, speak slowly, clearly, and calmly
- Remain diplomatic & polite
- Show willingness to resolve the problem
- Don’t over-react to trigger words
- • Callers will often try to push your buttons
- Listen completely to the complaint, and allow the caller to vent: Only when they are finished should you comment
- Long-distance call: Offer to call them back to avoid phone charges – this can have an immediate positive impact
- Acknowledge their feelings- “I can hear that you are upset by this” or “I can tell this situation is upsetting you”.
4. 11 Most Frequent Caller Complaints
•The telephone rings for a long time before it is answered.”
•They place me on hold for sometimes, it seems, hours.“
•The line is busy for hours it seems.“
•They are very rude and get offensive when asked their full name or sometimes just won’t give it.“
•They let me talk on and on only to realize that they’re not the person I should be talking to.“
•”If I call the wrong department for help, they don’t give me suggestions to where I should be calling, they just say, ‘I don’t know, not our department.'”
5. Words and Phrases to be Used
•Hello! I’m sorry to keep you waiting.
•Good morning! Thank you for waiting.
•Please. It was nice talking with you.
•Thank you. Is there anything else I can do for you?
•I’m very sorry. Thank you for coming in (or calling).
•Excuse me. It’s been a pleasure to serve you.
•You’re welcome. I’d be happy to do that for you.
•May I help you? We appreciate your business.
6. A scenario of good business communication on the phone
John is the CEO of a tech startup and he needs to call a potential investor, Ms. Lee, to discuss the terms of a potential investment. He prepares himself by doing some research on Ms. Lee’s investment portfolio and previous investments. He also reviews his company’s financials and prepares some talking points that he wants to cover during the call.
When he calls Ms. Lee, he starts the conversation by introducing himself and his company, and thanking her for taking the time to talk to him. He then asks if it’s a good time to talk or if she would prefer to schedule the call for a later time.
Ms. Lee confirms that she has time to talk, so John goes on to explain the purpose of the call and provides some background information about his company. He then presents his company’s financials and highlights the growth potential of the company.
Ms. Lee listens carefully and asks some follow-up questions to clarify some of the information John has presented. John answers her questions in a clear and concise manner, using simple language to avoid any confusion.
As the conversation progresses, John makes sure to actively listen to Ms. Lee and acknowledge her points of view. He also takes notes on the key points that are discussed and summarizes them at the end of the call.
Before ending the call, John thanks Ms. Lee again for her time and confirms that he will send her a follow-up email with more detailed information about the investment opportunity. He also asks if she has any additional questions or concerns that he can address.
Ms. Lee expresses her appreciation for the call and tells John that she will review the information he has sent and get back to him in a few days. John thanks her again and ends the call.
In this scenario, John demonstrates good business communication skills by preparing himself before the call, being clear and concise in his presentation, actively listening to Ms. Lee, and showing appreciation for her time. By following these communication best practices, John increases the chances of a successful outcome for his company.
See more: Business English – Telephone calls
See Also: Introductions and Socializing in Business Communication
7. 20 main and necessary vocabulary words with definitions about “Speaking on the phone in business communication”
- Etiquette: The customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.
- Clarity: The quality of being clear, coherent, and easy to understand.
- Tone: The way in which someone speaks conveys their mood or attitude.
- Inflection: The rise and fall of the pitch of the voice in speech.
- Jargon: Special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.
- Multitasking: The ability to do several things at the same time.
- Paraphrasing: Restating someone else’s words or ideas in your own words.
- Active listening: The act of fully concentrating on, understanding, and responding to a speaker’s message.
- Open-ended question: A question that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no and requires an explanation.
- Rapport: A positive relationship between people based on mutual trust and understanding.
- Filler words: Words or sounds such as “um,” “ah,” or “like” that are used to fill pauses in speech.
- Follow-up: A subsequent action or event that occurs after the initial action or event.
- Confirm: To verify or make sure something is true or accurate.
- Slang: Informal language that is typically used among friends or in casual settings.
- Professionalism: The conduct or qualities that characterize a professional person.
- Interruption: The act of cutting off or disrupting someone while they are speaking.
- Distracting: Something that diverts attention or makes it difficult to concentrate.
- Personalize: To make something specific to an individual or group.
- Active voice: A grammatical construction in which the subject performs the action expressed by the verb.
- Summarize: To briefly restate the main points of a conversation or document.