Etiquette Corner: Phone Faux Pas – Forget about it!

Tell the truth. Have you ever inadvertently been rude on the phone? Even business people with the best manners have made mistakes here and there. Avoid future faux pas by keeping these tips in mind:

1) While on the phone, be sure to concentrate on the call itself and do not get distracted by other things. Composing an email, texting or shuffling papers all suggest your attention is not on the conversation. Yes. They can hear it.

2) Eating while on the phone is a no-no. Because sounds are magnified, chewing a piece of gum (or even sucking on a cough drop) can be heard. If you have anything in your mouth, don’t get on the phone.

3) Try hard not to sneeze, blow your nose, or cough into the receiver. If you sneeze or cough suddenly, be sure to turn the receiver away from your mouth and excuse yourself. As noted before, the sound is magnified to the other person.

4) Avoid using speakerphone, if possible. It can be very hard to hear and distracting for everyone involved. The cardinal rule when using speakerphone: Immediately tell the person on the other end of the line that you are using one and name all who are present.

5) Make sure your tone and the speed of your voice matches the person’s you are speaking to. If you speak too quickly or too slowly you can give the wrong impression. Your tone should be upbeat and pleasant. People like to talk to people who enjoy what they do.

Be aware of these five faux pas. Fine tune your phone manners and leave the best impression possible each and every time you make a business call!