The Dos and Don’ts of Telephone Etiquette


It is inevitable that we will be required to speak on the phone sometimes.

Some people are very confident speaking on the phone while others become a big ball of nerves at the thought.

Whichever type of phone user you are, it is important to learn proper phone etiquette so you can give others a good impression of you or the business you represent, and also make it a pleasant experience for the other person on the line.

To help, here are some simple dos and don’ts to follow.

DO – Smile when you talk to people. Although they might not be able to see you, a smile can be heard in your voice and the caller will be much more relaxed in their conversation with you. People love talking to happy people.

DON’T – Be distracted. Although the caller may not be able to see what you’re doing, if they don’t have your full attention it will be heard in your tone and responses. Distractions can be anything from responding to an email, replying to a text, scrolling through online shopping, reading a news article, or nibbling on that doughnut that has been sitting next to you calling your name. If you wouldn’t do these things with the person in front of you, don’t do it when you’re on the phone.

DO – When you answer the phone, greet the caller warmly and advise who they are talking to. Always answer the phone with your name at the end of your greeting. You will have an upward inflection on your name which will stay in the mind of the caller. Personal calls received should also be formalised. Some ways you can answer the phone are “Hello this is (say name)” and business calls can be answered with ‘’Good Morning/Afternoon, (say business name), this is (say name)”.

DON’T – Shout or whisper. Being overly loud or overly quiet can make a phone conversation very awkward and might mean you don’t get all of the information to the person on the other end. Try and speak in a calm tone that will be easy to hear and understand.

DO – Speak clearly. You have something to say and the person at the other end wants to hear it. No one wants to repeat themselves many times during a conversation. Speak as clearly as possible to avoid this.

DON’T – Leave the caller on hold for too long. No one likes sitting on hold. If you leave your caller on hold for too long they may think they have been forgotten and may hang up. If this is a business call this could result in a lost sale or an unhappy customer.

DO – Make the caller feel welcome. Although it is a phone call, if your answers are short or you don’t sound interested, the caller may leave the call feeling unwelcome and that their query hasn’t been answered or problem resolved.


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