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Importance of Business Call Etiquette
Project managers spend a great deal of time on business calls with clients, project team members, vendors, and project sponsors. Regardless of the audience, using proper business call etiquette will reflect greatly on the direction of the call. Always consider how you speak on the phone as you may give out subliminal signals in the tone, speed, pitch, and clarity of your voice. If your calls go well, you will earn the respect of whoever is on the other end of the line.
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As you would when meeting a person face to face, you should always begin business calls with a proper introduction of yourself. Provide your name, title, and company when introducing yourself to the other party. If there are others on the business call with you, have each person introduce themselves.
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With any type of interaction, use your best manners. On a business call, be polite by using “thank you" and “you’re welcome" often. Listen to everyone on the business call carefully and do not interrupt others speaking. Wait your turn to speak and never speak over someone else. Additionally, keep anger, passion and emotion under wraps and never raise your voice or display rudeness.
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When facilitating a business conference call, advanced planning is good project manager business call etiquette. Before the call, set goals, and send an agenda that lets the invitees know what to expect on the call. To blindside someone on a business call is unprofessional. Set up conference call systems in advance and make sure that invitees have the phone number and login codes needed to participate in the call. Call in 5 to 10 minutes in advance to welcome each participant to the call.
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People dislike holding. If you must put someone on hold, always ask permission prior to doing so. In general, placing callers on hold is impolite. It gives the caller a sense that the other party has more important tasks than the phone call. Additionally, callers on hold may feel they are wasting their time when holding.
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Minimize Call Transfers
Whenever possible, business calls should be a “one-stop-shop." Assist business callers in one phone call, instead of multiple transfers. To tell callers you cannot help them because this is not your project or area of expertise is poor etiquette. Make every attempt to assist the caller yourself, even if it means putting him on hold. If you must transfer him, complete a “warm transfer" in which you remain on the call until the other party has answered the line. Explain the reason for the transfer to the caller and only disconnect once the other party has begun assisting.
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Speakerphones are the epitome of poor business call etiquette. Putting callers on speakerphones is only acceptable during a conference call when multiple participants are using the same phone line. Not only do speakerphones convey to callers the feeling that the other party is not fully paying attention, but echoes make it hard for people to hear. Callers remain guarded on a speakerphone, never sure there isn’t someone else lurking in the room.
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1) Krotz, JL. Microsoft Business internet magazine. 10 things never to say on a business call, retrieved at http://www.microsoft.com/business/en-us/resources/marketing/customer-service-acquisition/10-things-never-to-say-on-a-business-call.aspx#thingsnevertosayonabusinesscall
2) Robo, R. MySalary.com internet magazine. Telephone manners, retrieved at http://www.salary.com/Articles/ArticleDetail.asp?part=par224
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