Telephone Etiquette

Telephone etiquette seems to be lacking these days- and I get a birds-eye view of its lack! What, you may be asking yourself, makes me think I am such a specialist on this subject? A person doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out! What I propose for all of my readers is that you allow yourself to be re-educated in the art of telephone etiquette.

It doesn’t take a degree in social etiquette to know that when you answer the phone, you should identify yourself. And yet, millions of people in this wonderful country of ours have forgotten this long-lost “art”! When you answer the phone, you say, “Hello, this is Paul”- or whatever your name is. This is a common-sense courtesy we should all be giving one another.

Don’t just assume that when you call your brothers apartment, that he will answer. Or your mothers’ house. Or that direct line to the phone on your dad’s desk at the law office. Someone else may pick up that phone. If it’s me, I will say “Hi, this is Paul!” And please, would you mind saying something similar? Like “Hi, this is Suzy calling; is Pete there?” It won’t hurt you and it only takes a moment.

Why the big deal?

I answer the phones all day long. I am a “Communications Coordinator”- (switchboard operator) at the corporate office of a big utility company. We are a provider of electric service and gas service also. Believe me, I get an earful! And I just keep learning! The educational process never ceases!

People call to ask to talk to an executive. I have rules and procedures. You talk to an administrative assistant. People call to talk to someone in particular! No problem. I connect you. Still others call and ask to talk to someone who knows something about purchasing of excess pipeline materialâÂ?¦ aha! Purchasing has a generic number for vendors. I can’t give that number out. But I will connect you with that line. Leave a message and be pleasant!

People have forgotten how to be pleasant. Even in calling for customer service, people are rude or even angry. They are perhaps abrasive. Or maybe curt. Don’t be that way.

In grade schools in this country, the good old USA, at one time kids were taught to observe and practice courtesy. How to say please and thank you. To hold a door for someone else. Not to cut in front of others in a line. And how to answer and behave on the telephone.

This is my suggestion to you. It is a “how-to”âÂ?¦ and hopefully a wake-up call! Be nice to others on the phone. Even if THEY are not. Be courteous. Be polite. There is a tone of voice that is rude- and one that is cordial. Or at least civil. Practice and nurture the good essences which go into friendly communication on the telephone. It might even help your grammar AND your vocabulary!

Yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone isn’t going to agree. Many are going to skim this article and say, “Huh! Yeah, right!” in a very sarcastic way. Seems that in the American way of life, it is considered the norm, these days, for people to just be themselves- rude or not. Indifferent or not. Caustic, sarcastic and even abrupt with others. Courtesy should be intimate. Personal. Friendly. Always.

Learn these graces. Teach yourself- or look for classes at your local high school or community college where this might be taught.

Today, courtesy is something of a dinosaur.

Please, when you answer the phone, remember that the caller is as human as you are.

Be patient.

If you are not, then learn it. Be it.

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