10 Tips for Telephone Success

The telephone is an often under-appreciated and much maligned piece of office equipment. Have you stopped to consider how much business you conduct over the telephone? These 10 tips will help you improve your telephone presence and presentations.

1. You are the "Manager of First Impressions" for your business. Whenever you pick up the telephone, put a smile on your face first. It will enhance your vocal quality and you will sound pleasant and relaxed.

2. Listen attentively to the person you are speaking with. Recall why your dog is such a good listener: listen actively and in the moment. Multi-tasking is the enemy of effective listening.

3. Let other people talk! Make sure your caller has completely finished speaking before responding. Remember: sometimes they aren't done talking; they are just coming up for air.

4. Use open-ended questions to get people to speak more freely. You should always talk less than the person you have called. It makes others feel more comfortable, particularly if you are asking them to make a decision. The more they talk, the easier it is for them to "buy into" what you are proposing.

5. To create affinity with your callers, speed up or slow down your speaking voice to better match theirs. They won't realize why they feel comfortable, they just will.

6. Use your words for best results. Keep in mind you can phrase anything positively, negatively or neutrally. Phrasing your words positively will help you get better results more easily.

7. Voice mail can be your friend. Avoid leaving voice mail messages but if you must, think of it as a 30 second commercial on a highly rated radio program. You have the opportunity to get your message into the "ears" of your most desired audience. Your message should reflect this.

8. Plan your telephone presentations in advance. Think out all the various scenarios you might be faced with and write it out. This is called pre-call planning.

9. Tape yourself for self-improvement. Listen to yourself carefully and decide what areas you want to improve.

10. Make an action plan. Focus on only one area at a time. When you feel comfortable, move to your next area and repeat.

We use the telephone as our primary form of personal communication. People who are good with this medium increase their opportunities for success.

Jo Ann Kirby is president of KRG Communications Group. She has 20 years experience in sales, telephone sales and sales management and an extensive background in training and development. Her background also includes extensive b2b telesales management experience. Jo Ann has been published in The Toastmaster, NAPPS Network and Commerce magazines. More can be found at http://www.krgcommunications.com

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