The telephone can be the most convenient invention ever, or the biggest intrusion. It all depends on whether you are the caller or the receiver.
When we call a business contact, it's because we want to connect with them to get or give information. But when we receive a phone call, it may be interrupting important work or a meeting. It imposes the caller's attention on us.
With proper phone etiquette, you should sound professional even if you are being interrupted. Here are 5 tips for proper phone etiquette.
1. The person you are with should always feel they are the most important. If your phone rings during a business appointment, or while you're talking to someone on the phone, let your voice mail take a message. When meeting with colleagues, if you are expecting a call from your boss, let the person know why you have to answer it.
2. Don't interrupt people when they are on the phone. If you walk into a colleague's office and he or she is on the phone, wait until the conversation is over. This seems obvious, yet many people fail to do this.
3. When someone interrupts you during a meeting or when you are trying to meet a deadline, don't let them ramble on and then cut them off. Politely tell them right away that it's not a great time for you to talk, but you'll be happy to call them back. Take their number, and be sure to call them back when you said you would.
4. Don't begin with: How are you today? Unless the person knows you well. You'll be dismissed as a telephone solicitor.
5. Never assume that someone knows you by the sound of your voice. People are busy and distracted, and you can create embarrassment. Leave your first and last name, and your complete phone number, whenever you call.