In as much as businesses now engage more with their customers and prospective customers online, phone calls still remain quite relevant. Phone calls have a more personal touch in which messages can be put across more clearly and comprehensively. Making or receiving business calls is a whole different ball game from the informal phone calls that we are mostly accustomed to. It is actually alarming that most people are not trained to make or receive business calls. Most people make the mistake of thinking that is a reserve for the receptionists and so forth. That is why entrepreneurs must take heed of the details I shall discuss in this article. Knowing how to make and receive business phone calls is something everyone in business must master.

Have An Outline

This is the primary thing to do before making a call. You must have an outline or a roadmap on who you are calling and the things you are going to cover in the call. This will be crucial to you keeping the call short and also having a grip of how the call flows. So this simply spells out ‘preparedness’ – take time to prepare before making the call.

Identification And Purpose

When making a business phone call the first thing upon it being picked up is to introduce yourself. This, of course, must be preceded by a greeting or some pleasantries because not doing that can come off as rude. Alternatively, some can switch it up by placing the greeting and pleasantries just after mentioning their name. You can use your discretion to see which is most appropriate. In terms of introducing yourself using your first and last name accompanied by your designation is a rule of thumb. After that, you must clearly state the purpose of why you are calling.

Be Attentive

The successful execution of any conversation thrives on two-way communication. This principle is no exception for business phone calls – pay rapt attention to everything the other party says. The element of your attentiveness implies two key things that you must adhere to. Firstly, give the other person ample time to respond or say what they have to say. Secondly, do not interrupt them abruptly (that is if ever there is a valid reason to interrupt them).

Promptness And Conciseness

When receiving a call please be quick to answer. I personally get annoyed when my call is not picked quickly (and this is just for informal calls with peers and the like) – what more when calling a business that you expect to be professional? The rule of thumb here is simple i.e. a business call must not go beyond 3 rings without having been picked up. That is the principle but also bear in mind that you must not be too quick to pick either. You do not want a situation where you will stun the person on the other end of the line. What usually happens is that when someone makes a call they take the few moments from when it starts ringing to prep themselves. That means it would be most optimal to pick the call after 2 or 3 rings. When making phone calls be brief and straight to the point. Not only does that save your time but also the other person’s. Conciseness is a product of having a roadmap and being prepared.

Clarity And Tone

You must use clear and easy to understand words and statements. This is achievable by using simple English, using a clean and audible voice projection (do not be too loud or too low). Your voice tone must exude respect, friendliness and warmth so that the other person feels at ease. Your voice pace must also be average i.e. do not speak too fast or too slow.

Be Formal

Remember that you are engaged in a business call whether you are receiving it or making it. So it is important to use formal language and desist from the use of street lingo. Using such slang language can put off clients by being interpreted as being unprofessional or inappropriate.

Environment Matters

The prior aspects of clarity and tone also rely a lot on the environment in which you are making or receiving the call. Ensuring that the environment is calm and quiet will make the call experience quite pleasant. I personally prefer for a phone call to feel like the person I am talking to is in the room with me. Essentially I do not want to hear any noise on my end and the other end too. This is something that is very important in making business calls. Imagine you make a business call to someone and they hear background noises or voices – they can either be distracted or be hesitant to speak freely and honestly thinking someone is eavesdropping.

Recap At The End

At the end of the call do a recap so that you establish whether or not you are both on the same page. Remember that communication is the sending and receiving of messages to achieve a common understanding. That common understanding can be assessed by doing a recap of all that you discussed during the call. If there are certain things that were missed or misunderstood they can then be corrected before the call ends.

In order to keep the call short, you must stick to your roadmap so that you do not let the conversation digress. If you follow these 8 guidelines you will set yourself on-course to being a guru at making business calls. Just like anything that is done repeatedly you will get better and better as you move along so put these 8 tips to the test and see the results for yourself.