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How many times have you called a place of business only to be discouraged when the person on the other end of the phone did not practice good telephone etiquette? Maybe they didn’t know how to use the functions on their phone so they could transfer your call, or maybe they didn’t offer to take a message for someone that was unavailable? The following article offers 10 tips for telephone etiquette that you can use while at work or at home.

1. Pay attention to the caller. Make sure that the person on the other end of the phone has your full attention. You will be able to meet their needs quickly and effectively if you are not trying to do 2 things at once.

2. Speak slowly and clearly. When talking on the phone, make sure to speak slowly and clearly so that the caller can understand what you are saying. This is especially important when leaving messages on voicemail.

3. Never chew gum or eat. It is very unprofessional to chew gum or eat while on the telephone. It gives a sure picture of unprofessionalism.

4. Adjust the volume. Keep the volume on your phone adjusted. If you are having trouble hearing the person on the other end, turn up the volume. This will ensure that they don’t have to repeat what they are saying to you.

5. Answer by the third ring. Answering the phone by the third ring lets the caller know that you value their business. It can be very discouraging to place a call and have the phone ring many times before being answered.

6. Know the functions on your phone. Knowing the functions on your phone and how they work can make you a more productive employee. You may need to set up a conference call or know how to ‘park’ a call.

7. Use voicemail. When you are not able to answer your phone, make sure to use your voicemail. Be sure to keep your outgoing message updated, especially if you are out of the office.

8. Use a phone message pad. If you are in a position where you take messages for people, be sure to utilize a phone message pad. The valuable tool provides a space to log just about every piece of information that a caller might give you.

9. Keep a notepad and pen handy. When talking on the phone at work there will be times when you need to make a few notes or jot down information. Keeping a note pad and pen within easy reach will ensure that you have these tools handy when needed. You will also appear more efficient to the caller if you don’t have to ask them to hold on while you search for a pen and something to write on.

10. Have other materials within easy reach. You might need more than just a paper and pen when talking on the phone. If you are expecting an important call that refers to a certain item, such as a report, have that information at your fingertips so that the caller won’t have to wait for you to find it.

Now that you have learned some tips on telephone etiquette, don’t stop there! Always be on the lookout for ways to improve yourself, at home and at work.