How to Be Professional Over the Phone

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Being professional on the phone has more to do with how well you handle yourself on your end rather than how you are being handled. If your goal is to be professional over the phone, then how you carry yourself through situations over the phone is key in being and remaining professional.

Phone equipment has a large responsibility as to how you come across to your caller. If your phone drops a line, that's one thing - but if it drops the line while you're closing a deal on an important deal, well, you get the picture. The equipment you use is an extension of your self, and it shows the caller how much they mean to you.

This hub will cover the following topics on being professional over the phone:

  • Phone Etiquette
  • Dropped Calls
  • Benefits of Good Posture
  • Business Telephone Etiquette
  • Phone Conference Calling

Phone Etiquette

If your goal is being professional while on the phone, this means being polite and treating everyone with respect. Always speak to people as if you were speaking to them in person - because they could very well be in front of you sooner or later.

If you want to take on a more professional demeanor over the phone, never use nicknames - especially if it's something that's inappropriate. Always address people by their last name unless you are family, or very close, and try not to use speaker phones. The quality of most speaker phones is very poor, and people don't like their voice and business out there for just any one to hear. If you do use speaker phone, have a good reason to do it, and always let your party know before you put them on speaker phone.

If you are in a noisy environment, say so and move to another quieter area or offer to call the caller back. It is frustrating when every other word spoken is followed by a "WHAT?". Never, ever say "Who's this?" over the phone at any time, as well as never using profanity. If you want to project a professional image, keep it clean, and cut the street talk. Be clear, speak slowly and annunciate.

Another dropped call.
Another dropped call. | Source

Dropped Calls

Dropping calls is an ongoing problem. It happens to some phone carriers more often than others, but it is a problem that interferes with everyone who has a cell phone. Theres no click or beep, so it's hard to tell when a party is not connected. Most of the time, you're still talking - oblivious that your party has left until the caller is calling you back.

In business, dropped lines affect your reputation as a businessman, and your company's ability to do business on a daily basis. If dropped lines occurs on your business phones, take action with your phone carrier to resolve as quickly as possible. It doesn't happen as much as it use to a few years ago, but it still happens from time to time. Get it resolved, or change your carrier to a more reputable one.


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Benefits of Good Posture

If you want to sound better, giving your voice a stronger and more confident tone, sit up on the edge of your seat, plant both feet squarely on the ground, chest out, chin up, and don't slouch. This opens your airways, straightens out your diaphragm and allows you to speak robustly - don't believe me? Try it while slouching, then straighten up and see how strong your voice feels and sounds.

Standing also does a great job of keeping a good posture, but beware that sometimes people pace, and unconsciously work themselves up into a heavy breathing session. Not very professional if you're on the other end.

Another simple idea that helps your phone handling is to smile while speaking over the phone. A smile - believe it or not - can be heard. Smiling 'is' contagious, but it can also change your demeanor. If you are not particularly happy, try smiling, soon your own emotions will follow suit. If you're the boss of your company, then you should know that you set the stage of how your business will perform by the way you come in in the morning. Do yourself and your business a favor, come in with a smile.


Conference phones.
Conference phones. | Source

Business Telephone Etiquette

If you have a business, your privacy is sold out to your business - that means you always answer your phone with a greeting, business name, your name, and a quick offer to assist:

"Good morning, ABC Motors, Morgan speaking, how can I help you today?" Perfect. You've stated a large amount of info for the caller to quickly process. Don't get upset if the caller makes you repeat everything you just said - this is very common.

If your are handling a call with important and excessive data or information, always confirm through email so that both parties can confirm the next step. If a caller is making a large order, confirming that the order through a fax or email is the safest way to ensure that everyone gets what they want. It happens often when handwritten notes are smudged, and the original amounts become questionable. Once the order is confirmed, that's what the customer is getting.

Always let the customer hang up first. This allows the customer the last chance to discuss any other concern, and perhaps any last minute order add-on. One more thing, in business, always get a name and a contact number to follow up with.

What was the longest time you've ever been on a phone?

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Signs of the times; empty conference rooms make for conferences on the fly.
Signs of the times; empty conference rooms make for conferences on the fly. | Source

Phone Conference Calling

Never have a important business meeting with your own phone's device. Instead, call your phone carrier to have a phone conference line and password given you to conduct it professionally. This way, you can have a group of 25 people calling one number, and inputting the password where they will be joined by others, and hosted by you.

As the host, you need to keep things moving, and keep things simple to understand - remember you don't have visual aid to help your conference call. Don't have more than a few important things to discuss that concerns the group as a whole. If it only concerns a few of the people in the group, don't use the conference time to discuss matters.

Understand that while you are discussing, your people are checking their email, finishing reports, and texting to their subordinates. Do not keep them for more than 30 minutes tops.

Below are a few pointers that I've come to develop during conference calls of my own.

Conference calls can be taken anywhere a person is - if you happen to be at a Star Wars convention...
Conference calls can be taken anywhere a person is - if you happen to be at a Star Wars convention... | Source

You're Hosting a 20 Person Conference Call

Agenda
Problem
Solution
You call a roll call at the agreed time.
Two people are not present.
Assign a person to call as soon as you come across.
Continue roll call till the end.
One still missing.
Confirm missing person. Move on.
Move smoothly through topics.
People not listening or busy doing other work.
Ask questions randomly picking people.
Winding up important topics.
Only a few in the group have concerns needing attention.
Have them email their concerns re: conference call .
End meeting with thanks.
More questions on other topics.
Re-iterate emailing you concerns. Release others, end conference.
Here is a look at how to run a simple conference call with several callers. Always keep the meeting rolling, and keep questions pertinent to conference topics.

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Comments 46 comments

KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks for your comment 'better yourself', I know what you mean on the conference calls - can't stand 'em, especially when the person running the call thinks that the call is the only thing going on for your day. Peace. Kawi.


Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 3 years ago from North Carolina

Great hub and congrats on Hub of the Day! This is great info and as someone who has had many conference calls and lengthy business calls this is all relevant and helpful! Nice job!


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks Purple, I appreciate your comment and upvotes. Peace. Kawi.


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KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks Tom, yes posture is often overlooked. Thanks for the comment! Peace. Kawi.


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KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks for the comment rebeccamealey, and thanks for the kind words. Peace. Kawi.


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KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks for your comment Stephanie, and congrats on your job!! Peace. Kawi.


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KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks StephSev108, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Peace. Kawi.


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KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks vandynegl, yes, I agree. There are several hi-quality systems available that are designed just for conference situations. The sound quality is high, and so the conference is satisfactory and the meeting a success. Thanks for your comment and good words. Peace. Kawi.


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Hi CZ, I know just what you mean, I feel the same way at times. Thanks for your comment. Peace. Kawi.


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KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Hi rose, thanks for your comment and good words. Peace. Kawi.


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks Stephanie, I agree with you - we've lost something along the way. Thank you for your comment. Peace. Kawi.


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks RTalloni, I agree with you, sometimes going back to the basics is a step in the right direction. Thank you for your comment. Peace. Kawi.


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KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks pinto2011 for the comment and good words. Peace. Kawi.


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KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Hi FlourishAnyway (I like that tag), yes - I've survived many a conference call. Some took half an hour just to make sure that everyone was there - no regard for other people's deadlines and business. I put a large emphasis on moving the conference call forward no matter what situations arose - purposeful conference calls should be for a purpose, and in high regard. Otherwise, send an email. Thanks for the comment and good words. Peace. Kawi.


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

I know what you mean Hezekiah, sometimes it's a struggle for some people to get the gist of a different cultures' customs and style of business. But the veteran businessmen and women know just what it takes to get the job done without stepping on anyone's toes. Domo arigato Hezekiah san.


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks SidKemp for the comment and good words - I know what you mean with the businesses. I like to throw money at the people that want to earn my business. I hope other business owners are listening. Peace. Kawi.


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KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks pstraubie48 for the comment and good words. Peace. Kawi.


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KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks vertualit for your comment and good words. Peace. Kawi.


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KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks vocalcoach, I appreciate your comment and link. Peace. Kawi.


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KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks so much Katiadejuan, but you don't have to feel bad about being nervous during negotiations - everyone has those periods. I find that I get nervous when I'm not too sure about the information I'm presenting, or standing for. But, once I find out all the info I need to know, or once I've rolled through the motions a few times, I find that I'm just fine. In the mean time, we research all we can, and we do the best we can with what we have to work with. I'm sure you'll do just fine. Peace. Kawi.


Purple Perl profile image

Purple Perl 3 years ago from Bangalore,India

Valuable tips! Thanks for sharing! Voted up and useful!


Tom Schumacher profile image

Tom Schumacher 3 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

Congrats on "Hub of the Day!" I appreciate you mentioning tips concerning good posture and conference calling. Too often, I feel, these issues are underestimated about the manner in which they should be considered. Voted up!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I can sure see how this would benefit a lot of workers in many fields. I am glad I don't have to talk on phone for a living. Bless those that do, and bless you for helpful advice!


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 3 years ago from New Jersey

Congratulations on your Hub of the Day.

I just recently had a phone interview for a job. While it was not my first interview over the phone for a job, I was surprised to learn at the end it was THE only interview. What made it awkward? It was for a fitness teaching job. That never happened before. But it is an awesome company to work for and a different way of doing things.


StephSev108 profile image

StephSev108 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Interesting hub. Congrats on HOTD!


vandynegl profile image

vandynegl 3 years ago from Ohio Valley

Very good information! I used to do a lot of conference calls when I taught online. It was the teachers listening in on the mentors. They worked pretty well; we could respond or add ideas at any time. However, I've been on group conference calls, where we listen over a speaker, and I've found it very difficult to understand the speaker at times. This was mostly because of a poor sound system, but it still added strain to the entire learning experience.


CZCZCZ profile image

CZCZCZ 3 years ago from Oregon

Excellent advice for how to be professional on a phone call. Since I have had to work with many socially inept individuals right out of college, I have had to endure many horrible phone calls over the years. This was fun to read through as it reminded me of so many times that after hanging up the phone, I was left thinking how this person ever communicates with anyone over the phone.


rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

Quite insightful! Thanks for sharing.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

Very good advice! I think that anyone who is answering a telephone for a business should receive training on proper telephone etiquette, and this hub would be a good place to start. Congratulations on your HOTD award!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Good practical advice, and with a little something to make us smile.

The loss of the ability to professionally make and receive phone calls is on the rise. The concepts you mention here are important. Congrats on your Hub of the Day award!


pinto2011 profile image

pinto2011 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

Your hub is full of lot of basic knowledge and its practicability is going to help all the callers either business or personal a lot.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

Great advice for image management. Phone skills are important and often neglected. I particularly liked your table on conference call issues and solutions. Congratulations on Hub Of The Day.


Hezekiah profile image

Hezekiah 3 years ago from Japan

Very good subject and point. For English we lucky that we simply make out language more polite for bushiness calls. So much different to countries like Japan, where I reside now. Here, business phone grammar is so different, it's like learning a whole new language again. e,g, learning Japanese x2.


SidKemp profile image

SidKemp 3 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

This is an excellent overview of a very important topic. I'm constantly aware of telephone etiquette. When I find bad etiquette, I generally do not use that business again - no second chance. I'm sure I'm not alone, and people do not realize how important this is. At the same time, I was very impressed yesterday by a local BBQ restaurant. Both the owner and the waiter answered the phone with "Hello, this is Super Dave's Barbeque. My name is X. Thank you for calling." My kind of people! I'm a regular there now, and giving them some free business advice, as well.

Your photos made the topic fun. Voted up, funny, and useful!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Congrats on HOTD....This advice will be of value to those in need of professional tips for phone use.

Thanks for sharing the info.

Angels are on the way :) ps


vertualit profile image

vertualit 3 years ago from Bangladesh

@kawikaChann congratulations!!! your hub is hub of the day.. every interesting hub. thanks for sharing...


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

This is very good advice for being professional over the phone. I will add a link to this hub to my own "telephone" hub written a couple of years ago. Thsnks.


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks teodoresumrall, thanks for your comment. I appreciate it. Peace. Kawi.


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

thanks for your comment przewoz, I appreciate it. Peace. Kawi.


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks for your comment Alison - You're retired!!! You're soooo young!! But, yes, now the norm is 'face-time' and skype for communicating. Now, since your face will be seen, you always have to look your best... at least you can just dress up the top half and still be in your underwear... lol. Peace. Kawi.


Katiadejuan profile image

Katiadejuan 3 years ago from London, UK

Great hub, Kawika. I work from home as a freelance, so most of my negotiations with clients are by phone or hangout, and I must recognize I am a very nervous persone when I'm on the phone. These tips are very helpful, thank you for sharing them. ^_^


theodoresumrall profile image

theodoresumrall 3 years ago from Fl, USA

A very helpful piece.


przewóz i transport zwłok 3 years ago

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Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 3 years ago from UK

Helpful information here. As someone for whom speaking on the phone has played a very large part in my career, I was interested to read your section on conference calls as these were not 'the norm' yet at the time I retired.


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Howzit Joe, thanks for the comment - yes, I'm an old band student that believes in building your diaphragm up to improve tone. It takes me a long time to pick pics out - if I don't shoot my own pics, I spend a long time at trying to select the perfect ones that will capture the right tone. Aloha, little south of you in SE Portland - be back in 808 in a couple of weeks. Peace. Kawi.


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Excellent practical advice (I especially like the one about good posture) mingled with unique situation strategies! This is a topic taken for granted by a lot of people (I stand accountable), so it's really cool that you decided to write a hub about this topic. I also like the eclectic mix of photo images. Nicely done, Kawika! Have a great rest of the weekend, bruddah! Aloha from SE Washington!

Joe

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