Speaking clearly is important all times. We accept that in business settings. We sometimes let our guard down, though, during private conversations. Of course, some of that is acceptable. After all, no one is perfect and no one expects perfection from others.
There is a fine line between casual and sloppy conversation. If you want to be–and remain–a polished speaker, you should practice the fundamentals in every instance. Some people think they can switch on the communication skills when needed (say, for a business presentation). That’s not as simple as it seems. Speaking clearly when necessary becomes easier when you commit to speaking clearly all the time.
Consider your phone or Skype calls, social gatherings, and other private events. Every time you open your mouth to say something, use the opportunity to practice what you’ve been taught. Eventually the principles become second nature, and you’re speaking well in all circumstances.
Phone calls are one area where we tend to slack off. Remember that these are a form of presentation, so the same rules apply. The following suggestions will improve your telephone etiquette.
Speak clearly: Enunciate well, and slow down if you’re prone to speaking fast. (An issue I’ve dealt with for years.) This is especially important if you’re using a cell phone. The signal can be choppy at times. Sometimes you need to speak louder, as well.
Mask the coughs and throat clearing: Those are really irritating and distracting. Turn away from or cover the mouthpiece when you feel the urge coming on. Keep a glass of water nearby to help stifle those urges.
Be patient: Avoid the temptation to jump in with a comment. Wait until the other person has finished, then begin speaking. I realize you’re excited to offer a thought, but interrupting the other person is rude. Take notes during the conversation so you can refer back to a point later.
Pay attention: Focus on the phone conversation, and set other tasks aside. You’re likely to miss certain comments by the other person, requiring you to ask for a clarification. That’s irritating. So are the rustling, tapping and other noises you make. Take notes if you like, but otherwise give the person your undivided attention. Your phone call will be more productive – and shorter than if you weren’t paying attention.
For related reading, see “Hold microphone close to your mouth” and “Eliminate filler words for a more effective presentation.”
Anything you’d like to add regarding phone etiquette? Feel free to comment below. And if you found value in this post, please share it so others may benefit from what you and I have written. To contact me, send an email.
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