With the prevalence (and casualness) of business emails it may at times seem that the relevancy of the phone (and its etiquette) are beginning to be called into question. However, regardless of who you are, the way you sound on the phone says a lot about you and the need for voice communication is not going anywhere any time soon. If you are trying to divine how a voice can make you feel, just imagine past experiences you’ve had with service providers or any call center. Some voice, be they bored, sleepy, or sad sounding, can make you feel even worse about your situation.
Just like a formal letter, a phone call should be divided into a few sections including an introduction, an articulation of the purpose for calling, and a polite salutation. Think about the number of calls (especially voicemails) where the caller doesn’t share a name or even a company; just a rote recitation of a contact number and instructions to call back. It is important to avoid being that sort of person. Always introduce yourself and who you represent in a polite and warm way.
The bulk of your phone call will involve articulating your purpose, which should be done clearly and easily understood. Making sure you are easily understood involves more than simple enunciation. It also demands calling from a quite place and a location with a clear reception. Any indication from a caller (such as asking “what?”) should be immediately addressed by adjusting your environment appropriately. And any technical glitches, such as problems with connection devices or headsets, should be attributed to your own technology, not blamed on the person on the receiving end of your call.
Your phone presentation matters so much because you never know how your interaction will impact you or your company in the future. You could be speaking to a potential customer, or even a boss, so there is no excuse for neglecting phone etiquette, even in a modern, technology-oriented office space with its inherent depersonalization. It is that very tendency to depersonalize communications that makes being personable on the phone more meaningful than in the past.