Business Etiquette & Presentation Skills - Chapter 13

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As part of WeLearn initiative, Welingkars has posted a series of information-packed powerpoint presentations for your knowledge enhancement. Here is one such select excerpt of a presentation. It relates to telephone etiquette.
When you speak to a person over the phone that person does not have the opportunity to see the size of your office or your office furnishings. He has to make an impression based on your voice and the way you speak. Therefore it is important to manage your telephonic conversations nicely so that you are able to create a positive impression on the listener.
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Business Etiquette & Presentation Skills - Chapter 13

  1. 1. 13 Telephone EtiquetteWhen you speak with someone on the phone, the person you speak with cannot see thesize of your office, your office furnishings, or you. He forms ideas about you, yourbusiness or your ability to deliver what you promise on your voice and the way youspeak. Therefore, it becomes very important to manage your telephone conversations andleave a positive impression on the listener..The pace, modulation and the pitch gives form to your speech while the words you useprovide the matter. Together they form the personality of your speech. A voice, whichconveys courtesy and respect, leaves a positive impact on the listener and signifies yourprofessionalism.Incoming Calls1. All incoming calls should be answered in a timely manner. Answer by the second/third ring.2. Always identify yourself.Never place a caller on hold, but if you have to, be sure to check back with them everyhalf a minute or so and ask if he would like to continue to hold. This lets him know thathe has not been forgotten and that you are attending to his call.Speak clearly, slowly and with courtesy and confidence when you answer a businesstelephone.Always speak with a smile in your voice. The smile goes through to the listener.• Never be rude to a caller, no matter how nasty he/ she is.• Have pen and paper with you to make notes or to take a message. Minimize background noise.• Use the caller’s name often. It helps to personalize the call.• When you end the call, thank the caller for calling and end with a positive statement.Outgoing callsWhen you are the person making the call, you must always remember to be polite tothose who take the call such as receptionists, secretaries and assistants as they are theones who will put through your call. If possible find out their names and address them bytheir names. They will/appreciate this as it means you have made the effort to recognizethem as individuals in their own right. If you are on their right side they will interruptmeetings to put your call through or call you the moment their senior returns to his/ heroffice or has a free moment.
  2. 2. When you make a call and the person on the other side picks up the phone, you shouldintroduce yourself and state the purpose of the call. The secretary or assistant mayenquire what you wish to speak to the intended about.When you have reached the person you wish to speak with and if your call has beenexpected, remind them of the prior conversation and appointment. If your call is notexpected, unless it is a short call, ask the party if they have the time to speak with you..End the call on a positive note by thanking the other person for their time.There are a few issues that you should remember when making telephone calls.1. When you make a call you are in control as you are choosing the time and making the call. You must therefore be fully prepared regarding what you wish to speak. If necessary write the points you wish to discuss on a piece of paper – ticking them off as you discuss them.2. Be very clear why you have made the call3. When you make the call, make it during business hours.4. If the person you wish to speak to is not available, leave a message.5. You should answer all calls that you receive as early as you can.6. If you are making a call on a person’s direct line, you should make the call. Asking an assistant to make the call suggests that your time is more valuable.7. Speak clearly and slowly when you make a business call. Time may be money, but if the other party cannot understand what you are saying, then you might as well have saved your breath and not made the call at all.8. When calling a person in another company, it is proper etiquette to give your name and the name of the company you work for to the person who answers the telephone.9. If you get the wrong number, apologize to the person who answers the phone – do not just hang up.10. When leaving a phone message, always state your name, company, phone number and reason for calling.Call waitingWhile speaking, if you decide to answer or take an incoming call (you have a call-waitingfacility) please ask the person you are talking with to wait while you answer the call. If
  3. 3. the incoming call is urgent, you may wish to request the person holding the call if youcould call him later. If you have answered the incoming call and you are returning to theoriginal caller address the person by name and thank him/her for holding.Call transferThere are also times when you may need to transfer a call. When you need to do so,explain your reasons for transferring the call. Once you have transferred it do notdisconnect until the other person has actually taken the call.Complaint CallsDon’t overreact, especially if the caller starts using “trigger” words or phrases, such as “Iwant to talk to someone who knows something.” Most people respond by gettingdefensive when their “hot-button words” are pressed. Remember, a positive attitude is themost important asset you have.• When you listen, don’t try to apply logic to the situation. Many people are beyond logic if they are angry.• Do not blame anyone – the caller, yourself, or someone on your staff – even if you know who is to blame for a problem.• Paraphrase the caller’s comments, and ask questions if you do not understand the information being presented to you.• Offer solutions and, if appropriate, offer alternatives.• Confirm the solution with the caller. Make sure the caller agrees with what has been decided.Rude callersWhen a caller is rude, be calm and listen to the caller and speak in an even tone. Ask thecaller his/her name and the purpose of the call. If you are calm and speaking politely,after a while the caller will also stop being worked up. Ask him/her not to shout but toexplain the problem. If the caller is abusive and uses foul language, ask them to speak ina more polite way.Mobile - PhonesMobiles can be obtrusive.There are times when you do need to take a call.
  4. 4. If you have to before your meeting begins alert others that you are expecting a call. Thenwhen your call comes excuse yourself and move away to keep the conversation private.Keep it short.If you are eating at a restaurant (even if you are alone) leave the room so that others arenot disturbed.Answering MachinesAnswering machines are a great help as it enables you to let a person know that you havecalled and leave a message. Conversely if you have an answering machine you can invitethe person to leave a message.Your GreetingWhen a person calls your number and you are not available, your message should say soLeaving a messageIt is awkward speaking to a machine to leave a message. When leaving a message speakslowly and as naturally as you can and leave the message you wish to. As a courtesyalways leave your name and telephone number.Video conferencingVideo conferencing is becoming increasingly common today and it can be very effectivein companies where offices are in different locations and there is a need to communicateto a number of people at the same time. It is important that all those required are in thedesignated place at the agreed time. Video conferencing spans time zones. It is importantthat the planning is impeccable. If you are unable to be on time for whatever reason, youshould inform well in advance. Even if you are able to attend, it would be courteous toinform of your availability a day in advance.While at a video conference, you must not interrupt a speaker.As actual personal contact is missing in video conferences, one must be aware of voice,word choices, gestures, facial expressions, body language and voice inflexions. At thebeginning, if the participants are not known to each other they may need to introducethemselves.If you remember that a video conference is as important as a personal meeting and all therules apply such as being on time, keeping to the agenda and being polite, you cannot gowrong. Your posture is also important and you should sit straight in your chair looking asa capable, competent professional.Tele Conferencing
  5. 5. Teleconferencing is speaking with more than one person located at different locations atthe same time on the phone. One of the persons will take the chair of the meeting and willtake control in order to ensure that everyone sticks to the agenda.At the beginning the person chairing the conference should take a roll call to establishwho are on the line and the participants, if required, should introduce themselves. Thechairperson should also establish the rules regarding who should speak and when so thatthere are no real disruptions or interruptions.As visual imagery is not available, voice inflection and word choice is very important.Additionally as time is limited it is important that one keeps to the agenda. You shouldspeak slowly and clearly. You should smile while talking as the smile will carry. Chooseyour words carefully and plan the manner of delivery to ensure that you convey yourideas clearly and logically.At the end the chairperson should summarize the discussions, close the conference andthank the participants. This is very important.

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