Phone-omenal Communication: Making Your Messages Ring Through on and off the Telephone

Have you ever interacted with someone either face-to-face or over the phone, and thought to yourself:

  • I really dread talking to this person.
  • Why doesn’t this person ever seem to get it?
  • This person never seems to listen to me.
  • Why am I always so confused after speaking with this person?
  • I always prefer to e-mail this person or hope I get their voicemail instead of them.

If any of these thoughts sound remotely familiar, that’s because they’re telltale signs of messages that don’t ring through! The key to getting your messages to ring through comes down to three words—Make the Connection.

Here’s how. Often the beginning is a good place to start, so let’s do that.

Smile When You Dial

You pick up the phone and “dial.” Funny how times have changed and “dial” is now an outdated word because today we push buttons, but nonetheless, in concept we still refer to “dialing a number.” This act is what enables us to “connect” with the party on the other end. But do we truly “connect” with the other person or do we just reach them via a complex wiring system? Ah… here is the question and ultimately the key. One of the best ways to make the connection is to smile when you dial. As simplistic as it sounds, this sets the tone whether you are speaking over the phone or in person.

Mindset vs. Headset

Today, many of us have traded off our traditional hand-held receivers for headsets. As beneficial as headsets are, it’s equally important to think about your mindset, before interacting with another person. Are you prepared to treat the other person like a —V.I.P (very important person), and how is this accomplished? It’s one thing to understand the rationale for treating someone like a V.I.P., but the more pressing question is how to accomplish this. This can be done by asking yourself the following questions:

1. Who are my customers (this includes internal as well as external)?

2. What do I know about my customers (i.e. their perspective, interests, and needs)?

3. Why am I having this interaction with my customer (i.e. knowing your objective)?

Make Messages Matter

In answering these three critical questions, you are preparing for the speaker-listener interaction cycle. As you would expect, this requires dual-role responsibility as the speaker/sender, as well as the listener/receiver. The most important goal in this interaction cycle is to make it easy for your listener to receive your message. Understanding and practicing these roles yields messages that matter. If every time we interact with someone, we consider it an opportunity to have an impact, then we come to realize just how powerful communication is.

As a SPEAKER…

  • Speak succinctly
  • Prepare your message
  • Know your audience
  • Reinforce important points

As a LISTENER…

  • Eliminate distractions
  • Put aside your own interests
  • Fully evaluate the message
  • Ensure your understanding

Finally, it’s never too late to start making your messages ring through.

Phone-omenal communication begins and ends with you!

By: Dale G. Klein, M.A., Corporate Communication & Speech Specialist, © 2008, Profitable Speech, LLC A Sound Investment®. All rights reserved.