Telephone Skills

by Babs Moore


The telephone is a powerful tool and, like most powerful tools, it can be used well and to good effect or can lead to expensive mistakes when used poorly. The telephone can be both a good friend – we all enjoy catching up with friends and family with a chat on the phone – and/or an enemy, causing us to suffer constant interruptions in our daily working life and preventing us from getting on with important tasks.

Everyone needs to understand the role the telephone plays in their daily working life. The exact nature of this role will depend very much on the job function of the individual. For someone whose job it is to answer incoming calls for an organisation answering the telephone will be a top priority – it is, after all, their main job. However, someone engaged in detailed design work of the type that requires high degrees of concentration for extended periods needs to manage the telephone in such a way that they are not interrupted so often that they make little progress with their main job.

Understanding the purpose and nature of a call and the role each participant is playing is important in maximising its effectiveness.

The call could be predominantly:

  • A sales call
  • An advice seeking call
  • An information call
  • A complaining call
  • A negotiation.

The participants’ roles could include:

  • The problem solver
  • The provider/sales person
  • The advisor
  • The friend/sympathetic ear
  • The purchaser.

The telephone is ubiquitous in business, so becoming a skilled user is an essential part of being successful in the business world.

This topic covers the key points about using the telephone as an effective and efficient business tool:

  • How to make the best use of the telephone as a tool
  • How to sound professional
  • What constitutes good telephone etiquette
  • How to gain maximum benefit from a typical business call
  • How to coach staff in using the telephone.

I’ve suffered from all of the hang-ups known, and none is as bad as the telephone.

Richard Armour