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Communicating over the phone

how to make great phone calls

Let’s face it, we all could use some help when it comes to our phone etiquette. For many, we are very comfortable navigating an in-person conversation, text message or email correspondence. But the nuanced aspects needed to tackle important things over the phone may require more effort. In this article we will equip you with skills to help you with your next phone call.

Whether it’s a call with a distance relative, a loved one who is incarcerated or or negotiating with a customer service representative, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a satisfactory phone call.

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Be clear in your speech

There are immense differences between phone and in-person conversations. Often phone calls require us to slow down and articulate, as the listeners ability to track the conversation is limited to hearing only. This type of intentional talking can seem forced at times, so it may be helpful to communicate that up front. Make an effort to use words that clearly describe your thoughts and feelings. 

Practice actively listening 

It can be tempting to finish the other person’s sentence or anticipate where the conversation is going. While in some cases, this can be a very helpful skill, it can be more difficult with phone conversations. Active listening is a skill that allows a person to listen intently to the other person without interrupting them. It is the practice of consciously engaging in listening to other person, putting aside the temptation to interrupt them. For more information on this, check out the Couple Communication video program.

Avoid multi-tasking

For most, multi-tasking is as common a practice as breathing. In reality, multi-tasking may limit one’s ability to have a great phone call. Next time you are on the phone, make an effort to stop what you are doing and practice actively listening. While it may not always be possible, being intentional while on the phone allows for a better experience and produces better outcomes. 

Find a quiet space 

Another crucial aspect to having a great phone call is being aware of your surrounding. Before you make the phone call, think of a place where you can sit. for example, a calm, relaxing space can help you make a distraction-free call that will allow for a better flow of communication. 

Make Talking Points

Although making talking points may seem rehearsed, it can be a helpful way to approach an important phone call. To do this, make a few bullet points to discuss with the other person. Especially when you are unable to talk in-person, approaching phone calls with intentionality will give strength to the relationship and allow for a more productive conversation. 

Additional tips

Some other things to allow for a better phone call are taking your phone off speaker phone, using a headset and turning off alerts on your phone before you make a call.

In this age of constant movement, instant notifications and fast results, it can be challenging to slow down and have an intentional phone call. But applying some of these to your next phone call will show the other person you care about them and are willing to invest your time in their lives.