My Top 10 Phone Tips (Part 2)

Posted by Todd Smith

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As I pointed out yesterday, every time we are on the phone with someone we are making an impression that impacts how we are viewed. Chelsea Greenwood, owner of a 1.4 billion-dollar marketing firm, said, “You are your own brand whether you like it or not. And every experience has a lasting impression.”

Here are five more tips:

6. Speak With a Confident Tone—Whether you realize it or not, you are presenting your personal brand every time you have a conversation with someone. If you want to brand yourself as a self-assured professional, then you need to sound confident but not so confident that you sound arrogant.

Before people will buy anything you have to offer, they must first buy you, and they won’t buy you if you don’t present yourself as a confident person. If you want to move up the pay scale in your career, you must be a person who presents yourself as being self-assured, yet humble.

Think of the most successful people you know and consider how their confidence is subtly conveyed in their oral communications. Then compare how they sound to the people you know who are not successful. I’m confident you’ll recognize the difference.

7. The “Two Second” Rule—Yesterday, I had a phone conversation with a man who did not let me finish my sentences. He constantly interrupted me and interjected his thoughts about what I was saying. Needless to say, I was annoyed and completely turned off.

You should never interrupt people when you are speaking with them in person, and this holds true for telephone conversations as well. When you are on the phone with people, show them the respect and common courtesy of letting them finish what they are saying before responding.

Since you can’t see the person, it’s hard to know if they are finished with their thought or just pausing to go on to the next sentence. So it’s a good idea to follow the “two second” rule. Wait two seconds to make sure they have finished. If you start to talk and they are not finished, always encourage them to finish before sharing what you have to say.

8. Carry a Notepad—I carry a pad of paper with me everywhere I go. The first sheet is my daily to-do list. This allows me to always stay on track with my daily action plan and be prepared to make notes at any given time.

When I am conducting a business call, I almost always find myself taking notes. In some cases, these notes concern things that I will be responsible for after the call is finished. If I write them down, I won’t forget. In other cases, I find myself making notes of things I want to share or discuss when it is my turn to talk.

Writing down my thoughts during the conversation enables me to focus on the subject rather than trying to remember what I want to convey when the other person stops talking. This also prevents me from jumping into the conversation prematurely.

9. Know When to Not Use Your Hands-Free Device—If you are having an important conversation, regardless of whether it’s with your spouse, friend, or prospective client, speak directly into the phone.

In almost every case, I can recognize when people are talking on their hands-free device. I can hear background noises if others are around, hollow echo sounds if they are in a room that doesn’t absorb noise, and road noise if they are in the car. I can even hear them multi-tasking by opening bags of food, shuffling papers on their desk, or typing on their computer.

And it’s just plain harder to hear when someone is using a hands-free device. I find this annoying because it requires me to focus more intently to understand what they are saying. When you make important calls, you don’t want people to get frustrated because they are struggling to hear what you are saying or are distracted by whatever is going on around you.

This tip is only for important calls. I recognize the value of using hands-free devices and don’t want to discourage you from using them in appropriate circumstances. I also recognize that in some states, it’s a requirement to use a hands-free device while driving in your car.

10. Don’t Use a Speaker Phone—Unless you are in a room with a group of people who are part of your conversation, don’t use your speakerphone for any phone call. Talking on your speakerphone is 10 times worse than the concerns I raised in the previous point about using a Bluetooth device. Even if you are calling your best friend, show them the courtesy of talking directly into the phone.

If you implement the 10 phone tips I’ve shared with you over the past two days, you can be assured that you’ll make a positive impression on the people with whom you speak.

Starting now, be intentional about how you present yourself in all your personal and business calls. After a short time, most of the behaviors will become second nature to you. The only one I still struggle with after all these years is the “two second” rule; wait two seconds for the other person to finish talking.

How you present yourself over the phone is a reflection of your personal brand.

To read Part 1, click here.

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About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.

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