24 May How to Improve Your Telephone Skills

How good are your telephone skills: do you feel confident to ask to check and clarify what you’re hearing and respond appropriately? Can you stall for time if you’re not sure what to say?

We’re all obsessed with our smartphones, but having great telephone skills, that is, talking on them…well, not always.

Speaking on the telephone is much more difficult than sending an email or text message for most of us, but there are times when we simply can’t avoid it. Whether it’s a quick call to check in with your manager or a team conference call, the telephone is a must.

However, one of the main difficulties of using the telephone is that it is often hard to hear or understand the speaker and you need to ask for information more than once and/or stall for time.

Here are some useful phrases to learn so that you always sound professional and in control.

To Check and Clarify:

Who did you say I should speak to?
Can you repeat that please?
Did you say ‘seventeen’ or ‘seventy’ (for example)
Sorry, which department did you say?
Sorry, I didn’t catch that?

To Gain Time:

I’m sorry, I can’t say right now.
I’ll have to get back to you on that.
I’m not the best person to answer that.
I’ll need to work it out and let you know.
Can I put it in an email?

…Or simply repeat back the question in order to gain time.

One more point: remember that if you put someone on hold to gain time, let them know you’re doing this and come back to check on them if you are going to be delayed. Otherwise, the caller may feel as though the line has just dropped out. Not a great impression.

If you have any other suggestions how to check/clarify/gain time, let me know! I would love to hear from you.