Speaking on the phone is something that you really can’t avoid if you work in an office or run your own business. If you are shy of taking or making calls, or if you find that you tend to stammer and come across badly when having a conversation over the phone, then you will find that this holds you back significantly and that you miss a lot of opportunities as a result. Whether it’s discussing things with your clients, whether it’s trying to buy or sell advertising space, or whether it’s discussing your plans with the press – there are countless situations that are best handled over the phone.
Fortunately though, a good phone manner is something that can be relatively easily learned and that just takes practice. Here we will look at how you can stop worrying and stammering and become as smooth as you like when you’re next dealing with business on the phone.
The first and most important thing to do is to practice speaking on the phone. If you aren’t very good at handling business calls then you might find yourself trying to avoid them and sending e-mails instead whenever you can. Of course this results in something of a vicious cycle however, as it just means that you won’t be giving yourself the opportunity to improve.
What you have to remember is that it doesn’t matter whether you make a fool of yourself a couple of times in the grand scheme of things. Call people up whenever you can and view it as a learning opportunity – if you can’t think of what to say then just try being comfortable with a little silence, it’s not the end of the world. If you don’t want to jeopardize yourself in business however by making awkward calls, you can always practice in other ways – for instance by calling up your mobile provider and trying to arrange a cheaper deal.
Be Okay With Silence
As I mentioned, being okay with silence on the phone is a good way to make calls les nerve wracking and to remove the pressure. More to the point though, using silence on the phone is actually a useful tool in many other ways. Not only will it make you seem more confident and give the other person time to digest what you are saying, but if they feel awkward they will be compelled to fill it which can lead to them making offers and lowering prices. Silence is often used in negotiation and telesales professionals are taught that the first person to break the silence will often ‘lose’ negotiations.
Something else that can of course help on the phone, is simply to improve your speaking voice and to speak in such a way that you sound clear, confident and professional. To do this, make sure that you speak slowly as it will help you to sound more intelligent while at the same time deepening your voice. Use pauses between statements and sit in such a way that you are able to project your voice.
One way to develop your speaking voice is to practice recording your own voice or just listening to your answering machine. By hearing your voice the way other people hear it, you will be more likely to spot areas for improvement and to alter your tone for the better. Here’s a WikiHow on developing your speaking voice more, though some of the tips are a little out there…
Something else to remember when speaking on the phone is to be polite and friendly at all times. This way, even if the conversation doesn’t go exactly the way the other person wants it to, they will still rate you as helpful and pleasant and it will make any bad news easier to swallow.
Another useful tip is to always smile when speaking on the phone. Even though the person on the other end can’t see you, studies show that they can nevertheless pick-up on the fact that you are smiling and will respond to you better as a result.
Other ways to improve the way people on the phone respond to you include repeating their statements (to show you’re listening) and using their name often – which will also prove useful for your own memory and records.
Evan Thomas works as a Marketing Executive at incorporator.com.au. He often advises people on business related issues such a company registration, profit building etc. Evan likes to read books in his spare time.
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