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8 phone etiquette rules

Published: 
Sunday, April 29, 2018

Administrative Professionals Day was on April 25, but Administrative Professionals Week was observed from April 23 through April 27. One of the issues that require constant reinforcing at seminars for administrative professionals is telephone etiquette.

Too many times I have called organisations and if the receptionist did not answer the phone, a member of staff will take the call and answer with just a “hello.” Or sometimes in an open office environment, you can get distracted by someone yelling into their phone and the whole office has to listen to the conversation while trying to get work done. It is also unprofessional for a receptionist to be constantly on her phone at the front desk or taking a personal cellphone call after putting a company call on hold.

Below are eight modern phone etiquette rules that should be observed:1. Announce your name when answering a phone call. A good example is: “This is Joan Smith speaking.”

2. Speak in a quiet tone of voice. Sometimes you may unconsciously be speaking too loudly. Most importantly, you never know who may be eavesdropping on your call.

3. Be respectful when having a meeting or a meal. Answering a call tells the person you are meeting with that the person who called you is more important. Most phone software allow you to send a text message indicating that you can call them back later or that you are in a meeting. If you have to take the call, then excuse yourself.

4. Place your phone face down when in a meeting so that you are not distracted by incoming phone calls. It is a lack of respect when you have a member of staff waiting on you to finish a call. Another person’s time is just important as yours therefore, don’t waste their time.
5. In seminars and conferences, participants are asked to turn off their phones so as not to disturb the speaker or everyone in the audience. The best way to deal with this is to put one’s phone on silent. Vibrating phones can be a distraction especially if you are in the front of the podium.

6. It is only respectful to let the caller know that you are putting them on speaker phone as you would like the person in the room to join the conversation. It can be embarrassing if the caller talks about confidential information that a third party is not supposed to know.

7. Many times people don’t play their voice messages. If you are going to leave a message make it short and sweet or leave a callback number. When leaving a phone number, say it slowly and twice. It can be annoying to have to keep replaying a message just to get the information.

Be professional when recording voicemail announcements. Recommended announcements are as follows: “You have reached Jane Smith, I am unavailable to take your call, please leave your name, phone number and brief message, and I will respond as soon as I can.”

If you don’t want to give your name: “You have reached 999-9999, I am unavailable to take your call, please leave your name, phone number and brief message, and I will respond as soon as I can.” If you don’t have a professional voice, then have a friend do it for you.

8. Respect organisations’ policy on cellphone use. A lot of organisations have incorporated a cellphone policy into policy documents. The use of cellphones have been abused by some staff and they need to take heed of telephone etiquette. Practising telephone etiquette will make a difference as to how a caller is going to view you and whether they are going to do business with you. Opportunities lost, all because of a lack of telephone etiquette

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