Remember those things that you regularly did as a child that now feel like a mere memory? Perhaps you were someone who climbed trees, got scraped knees and hated to wash up. Or maybe you had incredible balance and flexibility and never missed an opportunity to test your tight-rope walking skills on every ledge and curb.
One commonality in all of these things is if you don’t use the skill, it could deteriorate or be lost altogether. Anyone who has been a weekend warrior knows that sporadically working out or going all out after months or years of inactivity is a potential recipe for disaster. The same can be said of telephone etiquette.
Many of us use our smartphones for taking photos, posting on social media, texting, and searching the internet more than we do for talking on the phone. As a result, basic phone etiquette skills can suffer when it comes to using slang, interrupting or staying fully focused. If you don’t believe us, take a look around the next time you’re in a public place. There are more people focused on their phone than they are on the person directly in front of them.
An Exercise in Etiquette Building
At the risk of sounding like your mom, there’s a reason why etiquette both on the phone and in-person remains so important. Polite people simply are more pleasant to be around, especially when the alternative is being interrupted or ignored altogether. If you’re out of practice on this particular skill, there’s a multitude of places to build your skills from the grocery store, in traffic, and any time you use your phone.
Top Tips for Phone Interview Etiquette
Answering the Phone – Answer a phone call by offering your name, as in “This is XX.” An offhanded “yeah” can leave the person on the other end wondering if they called the right person or not.
Speak clearly and smile – We know it sounds strange, but you really can tell if someone is in a good mood or stressed out on a call. Answering the phone with a smile on your face can immediately convey that you are not only pleased to get the call but that you’re focused on talking to them.
Use a normal tone of voice – Cell phones, bad coverage and too many people around can turn a person-to-person conversation into a huge frustration of missed words and dropped calls. If you have an important call to take or make, try to relocate yourself to a quiet, more private area.
Focus on the call – The person who initiated the call made an effort to contact you so return the same courteous effort. Even if you are excited about receiving the call, allow the individual to completely finish what they are saying. A minute pause in the conversation is much preferable to constant interruptions. Once they are finished talking, take a moment and then briefly clarify what you have heard.
If these skills are not yet a habit, practice with a friend or family member and ask them to offer suggestions about where you could improve. Remember, a good phone interview can be the next step to an in-person meeting.
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a full-service Kansas City employment agency that provides contract-to-hire, direct hire and temporary employment placement services.