14 Etiquette Tips to Make the Perfect Phone Call

Whether you’re a busy business executive, a stay-at-home mom, or a cabbie driver – everyone makes phone calls. And while there are no specific rules you’re supposed to strictly adhere to, there are generally accepted behaviors.

This post presents 14 etiquette tips to keep in mind if you want to make the perfect phone call.

So let’s get down to work.

Tip #1: Ready Yourself for the Call

Before placing a call, make sure you’re 100 percent sure about what your call is about. It helps to fetch a piece of paper and noting down the specific questions you need to ask.

If you do that, you’ll sound clear-minded, organized and even smart to the other person. What’s more, you’ll save time. Besides, you’ll get every important issue addressed before the conversation terminates.

Tip #2: Identify Yourself Properly

You now have a nice little list containing the questions you need to discuss with the other person. Now, dial their phone number. But before you embark on conveying your message, you should identify yourself appropriately (especially if it’s a business call).

How to Identify Yourself When Making a Business Call

First, state your name. Next, state the name of the individual you’re calling. Let’s pretend your name is Brad. You work for a company called ABC General Merchants. And you’re calling someone called Richard.

So let’s roll:

“Hello, I’m Brad from ABC General Merchants. May I please speak with Mr. Richard?”

You see, it’s that easy.

Tip #3: Mind Your Tone

It’s a boring Monday morning. Naturally, you’re not feeling particularly happy or enthusiastic. But you’ve got to smile if you’re interested in making the perfect phone call. Believe it or not, people can tell when you’re bored or not interested.

People tend to respond like that of the person speaking to them. This they do without even thinking.

Remember, the other person is as busy as you are. And they’re also dealing with the usual Monday blues. Don’t make things harder than they are already. You want them feeling nice about you immediately you say hello. So make sure to sound confident. A voice packed with authority, courtesy, and clear-mindedness often makes a huge difference.

Tip #4: Never Shout While on the Phone

That’s pretty obvious: never shout at the other person. Resolve to stay calm and polite regardless of how the conversation goes. Even if the other person isn’t demonstrating proper phone etiquette, you should behave appropriately. Shouting and professionalism rarely go together.

Tip #5: Stop Texting While in Office Meetings

It’s the beginning of a new quarter. And you’re in a tension-packed meeting with your boss and colleagues. Things aren’t going so well for the nascent company. Anxiety and fear permeate the entire meeting room. You need no one to tell you that that’s the worst possible time to fiddle with your smartphone.

What would your worried boss think of you if they caught you texting away fast and furious? At best, they’d certainly think you’re not respectful. At worst, they’d think their company and your job don’t matter that much to you.

Will you be who they’ll be thinking of when an opportunity for promotion materializes? You’ll likely become the perpetually unlucky guy who’s always complaining about being passed over for promotions.

Tip #6: Know When to Turn Off Your Smartphone

Although there are no written rules, there are certain places where you’ll want to keep your phone turned off. While in a church, mosque, theater, or an important meeting with your CEO, turn it off.

Look, you’re there because you should be there. Or, because you chose to be there for a specific purpose. It’s only natural that you should focus on what took you there. So, forget everything else. You won’t stay there forever, will you?

Tip #7: Waiting Room Phone Etiquette: Please Don’t Use Your Phone

So you have an appointment with your physician. There are about five people ahead of you. So why not make a call as you wait for your turn?
Well, that’s just not ok.

Some of the waiting room occupants are feeling a little anxious about a health-related issue. Receiving or making phone calls in such a situation makes you seem unconcerned about their plight.

If it’s a call you really must place now, please step outside and handle it. Also, you should set your phone to silent or vibration mode so that incoming calls won’t disturb others.

Tip #8: Don’t Use Your Phone While on the Subway

Are you on the subway with others traveling to work? If yes, refrain from making or replacing phone calls. Your fellow passengers are most likely rushing somewhere, maybe to a job interview. Maybe they’re feeling a little stressed out.

Perhaps others fear they might get late to work. Maybe they have a nasty boss whose aggressive outbursts may ruin their day. So keep your mouth shut. There’s a reason it’s called public transportation.

Tip #9: It’s Not Everyone’s Call, Right? So Don’t Raise Your Voice

You’d be hard-pressed to find a person who never makes phone calls in public. But you’d find many people who handle their conversations appropriately.

Here’s a simple rule about making calls in public: keep your voice low.
No wants to know what the witch (your mother-in-law) has been up to lately. Plus, you never know who’s listening in on your conversation. If you must place the call in public, make sure no one overhears your conversation.

Tip #10: When with Another Person, Ignore Your Phone

You’re enjoying a delicious meal in some really nice place with someone you treasure. Maybe you’ve not seen them in ages, which means there’s a lot to discuss. Your companion needs you to focus on her and the conversation at hand.

They don’t expect to see you tinkering with the apps on your phone or worse, chatting with others. If you ever did that, the other person would feel disrespected.

Who texts strangers who are 500 miles away while sitting right next to their best friend? It’s only someone who doesn’t care about other people’s feelings. It’s only someone who has zilch respect for other people’s time.

Tip #11: Focus on the Road Ahead While Driving

You really don’t need anyone to remind you about this, do you? There are tons of stats regarding road accidents that occur because someone used their phone while driving.

This tip is less about phone etiquette and more about your safety. It’s about behaving responsibly while on the road. It’s about respecting other people’s right to life. It’s that serious.

But if you really must use the phone while on the road, pull in by the roadside. Finish that business first. Then, hop on the car and safely drive to your destination.

Tip #12: Stay Focused

Throughout the conversation, don’t allow your thoughts to wander. Stay focused. Don’t forget why you called in the first place. Also, don’t perform other tasks while the conversation is still active. Don’t munch a doughnut, listen to others, or read your emails.

All those things can and should wait. The other person can easily tell that you’re giving them unfocused attention. They might conclude that your conversation isn’t that important to you. And that you’re wasting their time.

There are times though when you may deem it absolutely necessary to pause the conversation for a moment. In such a situation, politely request the other person to allow you a minute. Once you come back, thank the other person for their patience. You might say something like, “Richard, thank you for holding.”

Tip #13: Know How to Leave Messages

What happens in case the person you wanted to speak to isn’t around? Leave a message? Don’t worry. You should be ok if you follow appropriate phone etiquette in that situation. Here’s what not to do: Don’t use street language. Also, avoid using idiomatic expressions. Speak clearly, slowly, and in a straightforward manner.

One more thing: always give the listener your return telephone number. It’s also important to leave your area code. Before you terminate the conversation, make sure to repeat your phone number and area code. Speak as slowly as you need to so they miss nothing.

Tip #14: Ending the Conversation

After you’ve delivered your message, you’ll need to end your call. If the other person has nothing more to say, simply thank them for their time and terminate the call.

Etiquette Tips to Make the Perfect Phone Call: Final Thoughts

No one wants to make calls that fail terribly. Everyone wants to achieve their aims. That’s why everyone needs to master phone etiquette.

So decide what message you wish to convey and introduce yourself right. Get your tone right and stay focused on the matter at hand. Texting or tweeting while in an office meeting is rude and could even derail your career.

And calling or receiving calls in public isn’t something you want to do unless you really have to. Also, don’t let distractions lower the quality of your conversation, and always leave the return telephone number whenever necessary. Follow these simple rules, and you’ll start making perfect phone calls almost every time.

Matthew Ryan

I'm Matthew Ryan, one of the guys behind MannersAdvisor.com I am passionate about the world of good manners, etiquette and proper behavior to have on any special occasion. Here I decided to share my passion with you!

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