establishing contact with the party you're trying to reach, you
should be ready to use the time as effectively as if you were in
a face-to-face meeting.
speakerphone – friend or foe?
Speakerphones are a great tool for communication via the telephone,
but they must be used wisely. Some people prefer to use a speakerphone
even when no one else is listening in so that they can take notes
during the conversation without having to juggle a phone receiver.
If you're one of those people, make sure you inform the people on
the line with you that you are using a speakerphone, and if they
seem apprehensive, explain why it is necessary.
are also useful for conference calls. If you are leading a speakerphone
meeting with a number of people, allow each person to introduce
himself or herself, to help the listeners match a name to a voice.
conference calls, always identify yourself by name and never rely
solely on voice recognition," said Lena Bottos, compensation
market analyst for Salary.com. "Always preface your comments
with an introduction."
Conference calls provide unique opportunities for colleagues
to communicate with one another. For example, it is not unusual
for conference calls to include one or more silent listeners, who
may or may not be introduced. Their objectives vary considerably,
from training and monitoring to evaluating and getting strategic
insights. Never assume your business telephone call is a confidential
conversation between you and the people who introduce themselves
on the other line.
silent strategy for conference calls is to use email, whiteboards,
or instant messaging software to communicate with other participants
on the call. This can be advantageous, for instance, when a silent
partner wishes to prompt a speaker to say something in particular.
If you are using such signals, however, be careful not to distract
the other party by the sound of typing, nor to alienate the other
party with your surreptitious strategizing.
When using the telephone at work, don't forget about the people
around you who aren’t taking part in the conversation. If you can,
shut your office door or warn your cubicle neighbors before making
speakerphone calls, as a person's speaking voice tends to increase
in volume when using remote technology.
In many offices, people whose job involves considerable telephone
work use a special hands-free headset-type telephone. This technology
frees these workers to walk around the office with the ergonomically
you use this type of telephone, be careful not to bring your conversations
into parts of the office where they do not belong. Many office workers
can relate stories of coworkers walking up and down the halls seeming
to talk to themselves. Be sensitive to the acoustics of the area
in which you are conducting business, and to your coworkers' work
you work with people who use hands-free telephones, develop a way
of ascertaining quickly whether they are on a call before beginning
a conversation with them.
to say no
Learn how to use the "do not disturb" function on
your phone, or lower the ringer if you to have a meeting in your
office that you don't want to interrupt. A ringing telephone can
create quite a disturbance in a sensitive meeting. Also, if you
want to focus on a particular project - say you've got a deadline
and you're not expecting any important calls - you can disable your
ringer so that your calls go straight to voice mail.
don't hide behind your voice mail. Technology makes it quite feasible
to keep people at bay indefinitely. But if people begin to think
you never answer your phone, they will stop calling, which could
adversely affect business relationships.
a nice day
At the end of each call, thank your caller or the person you called
for his or her time, and hang up with a pleasant goodbye.
Regina M. Robo, News Editor
and related reading
Letitia Baldridge - Amy
Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette
Judith Martin - Miss
Manners Guide for the Turn of the Millennium
Peggy Post - Emily
Peggy Post and Peter Post - The
Etiquette Advantage in Business