How to Effectively Communicate Over the Phone

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Speaking with someone over the phone is a convenient way to communicate. Whether talking to your family, at work or planning an event, you should learn how to speak to someone over the phone in a way that will maximize communication effectiveness and cut down on any miscommunication and misinterpretation.

Be in a quiet place. While sometimes it's unavoidable, you should try to be in an environment that has as little noise as possible. Each person on the phone will be able to hear clearly and without interruption.

Let the person on the other line know if you cannot understand them as soon as you can. That person may have a heavy accent, be on a cell phone with bad reception or be in a distracting environment. Whatever the reason is for any misunderstanding on your part, let the receiver know that you have a hard time understanding them. You do not want to miss any important information. In return, you can ask that person if they can understand you. Sometimes the person on the other line may be too shy to let you know.

Be focused on the conversation on the phone. If you can avoid it, you should not be doing anything else. Taking notes or looking up information for the person is reasonable, but will get a lot more out of your conversation if you are focused on what is being said.

Ask permission if you can change the status of the phone call. This includes adding another person to the line, putting the conversation on speaker phone or recording the conversation. Many people will feel uncomfortable if you do these things without their permission.

Place calls at appropriate times. Business calls should be placed during a business day. Don't forget that those people may be eating lunch, too. Also, unless the person is expecting your call on a personal level, you should not call late at night or early in the morning. Calling during dinner can be a major nuisance for most people as well. Have some respect for the individual and only call at convenient hours for them.

If you keep missing the person you want to speak with, leave a message. Let that person know what times are the best to get a hold of you. It can be quite aggravating to keep putting off an important conversation just because your times aren't matching up.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use your normal talking voice when on the phone.
  • Use appropriate language when speaking with someone. You can get away with being silly or obnoxious with your friends or family, but other than that, you should be slightly more professional.

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