Whether you’re on the phone all day as a receptionist or just trying to prepare for a phone interview, you might be wondering how to put your best foot forward. After all, so much of human communication is nonverbal, but the phone cuts off all body language. Still, there are things you can do to sound friendlier on the phone. Here are a few tips.
If you were there in person, you’d be smiling, right? Did you know that even when you’re on the phone, a smile will carry through into your voice? It forces your vocal cords to work in a slightly different way, automatically making you sound warmer and more upbeat. Just like in person, you don’t want to plaster on a big fake grin, though. Instead, let yourself relax into a natural warm smile.
Whether from nerves or simply having a lot to say, many people talk fast on the phone. This can make it harder to understand what you’re saying, while also coming across like you just want it to be over. Take a beat before answering a question. Modulate your rhythms, allowing space for each word and phrase to flow. Keep breathing freely, and don’t be afraid of a moment of silence.
Practice Active Listening
Active listening means really tuning in to what the other person has to say. It shows that you’ve taken an interest in the conversation and that your goal is to communicate rather than simply to talk. Active listening skills include:
- Clarifying: Ask questions to make sure you’ve understood the message.
- Restating: Briefly summarize the other person’s main points.
- Reflecting: Search for the meaning behind the words. Try to see the other person’s point of view.
- Responding: Only once you’ve fully taken in and sought to understand the speaker’s message should you respond to it.
Talking on the phone isn’t much fun for a lot of people, especially in a business setting. But following the tips above can help you project warmth and friendliness, regardless of the purpose of the call.