Phone Call Etiquette
Phone call Etiquette refers to the dos and don’ts of business telephone calls. Phone calls are basically everyday activities in business settings. People usually make phone calls to ask for information or an appointment, discuss a matter that does not require a formal gathering, and more. They help people take care of certain matters without having to leave their office. With that being said, it is important to consider how to address the person to whom you would like to talk, let them know why you called, and discuss the matter.
private number, or extension?
The first step is to call the number you have. The number could be private line or a cell phone number, in which case you can easily introduce yourself and discuss the intended matter. But if you have a company phone number, you would have to either dial the extension (the particular line given to an office or a person in a company), or ask an operator or the secretary to connect you to your person of interest.
Would you like to leave a message?
If you have to talk to a secretary, simply introduce yourself and ask them to talk to Mr. or Ms. Black. If you prearranged the call, tell them they are expecting your call. In case the person is not available, you might be asked if you would like to leave a message. If the reason is not a personal or confidential one, and if you know your contact personally, this could be a good idea, otherwise you had better tell them you would call again. Try not to leave a message if the discussion of the subject involves sensitive matters or requires communication, for it might lead to misunderstanding. But if your contact is available, go ahead!
Keep it to the point from the start.
Now unless the call was prearranged, it is advised to keep it short and to the point. It would be even smart to ask your contact about how much time they have or if it is the right time to discuss the matter. Therefore, when you are connected, introduce yourself, talk about your reason for calling, and ask if they have enough time to discuss the matter. Keeping things to the point helps ease conversations.
Remember to make your points clear, and listen attentively when the other party is speaking. Being in a quiet place can help you concentrate on the conversation. Do your best not to interrupt, rather, make notes on the points you would like to comment or respond. Let the conversation run smoothly, but also remember to keep track of time. It is ideal to reach the intended result. However, if you feel that it is taking too long and you may go off track due to differences of opinion or other matters, suggest postponing the discussion. Suggest that you both consider the issues discussed and get back together another time, or set up a meeting if it can help you both reach a desired result.
Although business phone calls are a great means to speed up a process, they are best used for typical, and every day activities or ones that have been discussed before the call. It is also suitable for matters that do not involve much discussion or sensitivity. It is better to keep important issues for face-to-face encounters. Phone calls may be mostly appropriate for short discussions – there are always exceptions-, but phone conferences are used for exactly the opposite reason, especially when it is an international one.