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Career tip: phone skills March 1, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Careers.

Phone skills


Verbal communication skills are recognized as important in becoming successful. How we present our ideas and project our image are keys to being seen as capable. People focus on these for direct interpersonal situations. This is not the only time good verbal skills help, or hurt, one’s image.


The telephone is a key instrument in business dealings. Increasingly a telephone interview is being used to screen job seekers for the face-to-face visit. In a global business world, teleconference calls are common because these are convenient.


SIang or jargon can give an image that you are not professional and so you have to be careful not to use them. Have someone listen to you or recode yourself to see if you have any bad vocal habits. Many people unconsciously will say Uh” or “you know” or some other repitious word or sound that is distracting or annoying to a listener. Work to notice these consciously and try to minimize them.


Having another person listen or having a recording also allows you to gauge the proper tones and amplitude you should use. Being to loud or speaking too softly are both things that trigger unwanted image building. This also give you an idea if the pace of your speaking is too fast. Without the context of a dialogue in conversation, you might be leaving a message that is difficult to understand because you are speaking too rapidly.


If you might receive a business-related call on your phone, you have to be prepared to answer as if each call is going to be that one. If friends or family are taken aback, just explain the situation. Answering with your usual glibness or casualness also will give that person returning your inquiry or responding to your job application an instantaneous image that you are not professional. Overcoming that first impression wastes time and energy better spent on giving details that take care of business.


Just as in a face-to-face contact, politeness and the courtesies are appropriate. Thank the caller for returning your call or taking the time to call you. If you did not catch the caller’s name, politely apologize and ask for her or him to retell you.


If you have to leave a message, speak slowly enough that your words can be picked up. This is especially true when you give your phone number. It is both courteous and good business practice to open your message with who you are, spelling your name if it is not a simple one, and giving your phone number. In your close, repeat your phone number. It is critical and if the first one was garbled or there is a problem in the recording, the second is insurance.



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