By Karen Rodriguez, Exec|Comm Partner
In a time when business people have access to multiple ways of communicating via computers, tablets and smartphones, phone calls and voicemails have seen a decline.
We still believe face-to-face meetings are the most impactful and meaningful. But, there’s something to be said for picking up the phone and talking to someone. For those of us used to sending a quick text or email, our phone manners may need a tune-up. Here are four tips to make the most of your phone conversations.
Pay attention to your body language.
While face-to-face interactions allow for communicating through words and body language, phone conversations are voice only. However, your body language does play a part in your tone. Pay attention to your body language and you’ll keep your tone conversational. While speaking, focus on one object, sit upright and use gestures. Most importantly, smile, the listener can hear it!
If you are calling someone for the first time, begin your call by offering up your credentials, how you were referred or a common interest that you share. This will help you build immediate rapport with the person on the other end.
Don’t shy away from an assistant.
The assistant or secretary can be seen as a gate keeper or an ally. They can share important information about the person you want to reach. Ask for advice on the best time to reach the person and whether they prefer email or voicemail. Finally, see if they can set a phone or face-to-face meeting. Be sure to thank them for their help.
Make the most of voicemail.
Think of leaving a voicemail as a short commercial. State your name and phone number first, include a tease, give specific times to call back, restate your phone number and say that you will call again. Before you pick up the phone, anticipate leaving a voicemail and plan out your talking points so you can be concise and professional.
About the Author
As the manager of the Exec.Comm brand, marketing and design efforts, Karen Rodriguez oversees the firm’s identity, touching all aspects of the brand (online presence and web site, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events). She joined Exec-Comm in 1999, and entered the partnership in 2009. Karen recently introduced the firm’s blog, The Chat, and launched the company's quarterly lunch and learn series: The Learning Exchange manages the company's open-enrollment seminars in New York and San Francisco. Karen holds a B.F.A. from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, and lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.