Telephone Etiquette

Doesn’t it add a sparkle to your day, when the telephone sounds, and you’re greeted with a cheery “Good Morning!”, or “Good Afternoon!”?  Have you ever telephoned a business house to find the most courteous and helpful assistant, who after satisfying your request sends you on your merry way with a “It’s has been a pleasure serving you, thank you for calling!”  This is indeed a rare ocurence these days.

However I’m sure I’m not the only one who has telephoned someone only to be taken back by a booming voice coming over the receiver with a demanding ” ‘ello” or “Who is it?” – to leave the caller politely enjoining “Could I please ask who I am speaking to?”  In this article I would like to share with you some helpful points that will make using the telephone a more pleasant experience for both the caller and receiver.

Answering the Telephone
Answer promptly (before the third ring if possible).
Before picking up the receiver, discontinue any other conversation or activity such as eating, chewing gum, typing, etc. that can be heard by the calling party.
Speak clearly and distinctly in a pleasant tone of voice.
When you answer the telephone, make sure your message is cheerful.  A few examples of pleasant greetings are “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon” for a more formal tone, or to keep it friendly and relaxed use a sunny “Hello” followed by your name. (eg. “Hello, Clare speaking!)

Making Calls
When you call someone and they answer the phone, do not say “Who am I speaking with?” without first identifying yourself: “This is _______. To whom am I speaking?”
When you reach a wrong number, don’t argue with the person who answered the call or keep them on the line. Say: “I’m sorry, I must have the wrong number.  Please excuse the interruption.”  And then promptly hang up.
If you told a person you would call at a certain time, call them as you promised.  If you need to delay the conversation, call to postpone it, but do not make the other person wait around for your call.
If you don’t leave a number or a message for someone to call you back, don’t become frustrated if they are not available when you call again.
When dealing with people, the comment “naa, not a problem” comes from an arrogant, egotistic puppet, a more acceptable phrase could be “Yes, I can do that for you”, would be more appropriate.

How to End Conversations Gracefully
There are several ways that you can end a phone call without making up a story or sounding rude:

  • End on an “up” note.
  • Tell the person how much you’ve enjoyed speaking with him/her.
  • Promise to finish your discussion at another time.
  • As long as you are honest and polite with the other person, you shouldn’t have any problems getting off the phone.

Leaving a Voicemail Message for Another Person

Remember to speak clearly and slowly.
Be sure to leave your name and extension number. It’s best to say it at the beginning and end of your message.
Keep messages short and to the point.
Remember that you want to leave the person you are calling with a good impression of you, so be cheerful and polite.
Leave the date and time you called in the message.
Don’t forget to let the person know the best time to call you back.
Cover one topic in one message; specify what you want the recipient to do.

16 thoughts on “Telephone Etiquette

  1. Oh dear, I have to admit I hate leaving messages on recordings and usually hang up. But then again when I am really irate I will actually argue with a recorded voice lol!;)

    What really irritates me though is the constant texting with mobiles, I have been conversing with someone while they are texting I usually end our conversation very quickly as ‘texting’ seems to be replacing conversation these days!

    I dont own a mobile and I dont intend buying one, they drive me crazy!;) lol.

    But thanks for these tips Clare they are very handy..especially as manners seem to be going out the window these days.

    Peace, JOY & Blessings to you:)


  2. Oh! Well, you’re the first one I’ve known to argue with a recorded voice message! I suppose the opponent would not have much to say? 😉

    I concur with you in your exasperation when trying to make conversation, whilst the other is writing and receiving SMS messages. Maybe that is another post?

    Great to hear that this post is of good use to you. It is truly a delight when one uses good manners whilst using the telephone.

    Blessings to you.

  3. lol Clare it’s about the only time I win an argument when I argue with a voice know the ‘your call is important to us’..I will respond ” If it was that blasted important, I wouldn’t be sitting here on hold etc”;)

    I think a post on SMS messaging would be excellent. Nothing ticks me off more than trying to talk to someone who is fiddling with their mobiles *rolls eyes*….

    Peace & blessings to you:)


  4. Thank you, Under Southern Skies. I agree, oftentimes using the telephone can be a less than pleasant experience, but I hope these tips are able to make your telephone conversations more enjoyable.

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  6. The photograph is amusing and well-chosen as are the rules. Lady Like tries to return all her telephone messages, but she suspects some callers must be half-turned away from the telephone, perhaps multi-tasking, instead of speaking directly into the instrument.

    Not everyone enjoys speaking on the telephone and so ending conversations gracefully is a handy skill.

  7. I just wrote a piece on Audrey Hepburn..We need to look up to women who dressed modestly but with style. Audrey did both:).

    I was actually inspired by your blog to write it:). Thanks Clare you are an inspiration:). God bless.

    Peace to you:)

    Marie xooxox

  8. hi,i susan,an image consoltant,please keep me posted on poise and deportmtment especially in my field of an air and ground glad to have learnt alot from you.Be my teacher pleeeeeeeeeeease….

  9. Thank you, Marie! I am thrilled to have received such a award! As you can see, it now is proudly displayed to the right on the sidebar!

    Susan, greetings to you! Yes, I do intend to keep posting, although due to time restraints it tends to be a little more spasmodic than I would like!
    I will also be happy to write a post on being a air and ground hostess as you requested. Keep and eye out for the upcoming article!

  10. I would be enternally grateful if you could settle a disagreement between myself and my mother. I would like some clarification on what the general rule of etiquette is in relation to making personal (to someone’s home) calls, i.e. is is frowned upon before 9am and after 9pm or are the times different?

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