Chat messengers, emails and other digital methods of communication notwithstanding, telephoning still remains one of the most favourite methods of interacting with other people – especially when they are situated at a distance. In fact getting in touch with people – strangers, friends or family – has become easier and more convenient with mobile phones.
A lot of time has passed since Graham Bell invented the telephone but talking on the ‘phone is still an art over which very few of us have complete mastery. Either many people plunge straight into a topic without any preliminaries or some take so long to get to the point that the person at the other end is tempted to put down the phone and end the conversation.
The biggest drawback of standard telephone conversations is that the people engaged in the activity cannot see one another. Video phones and video calls are still not widely prevalent and majority of telephone talks happen in the traditional way.
Since we are unable to see each other and study the expressions or body language we have to guess at what the other person is feeling just from the voice and the words. Voice projections and vocal expressions become very important here and most people do not realise this when they are talking on the phone. The advantage of this is, of course, that you can make your voice sound as you would want it to- that is, if the person at the other end has never met you, you can convey the impression that you want just with your voice and words.
Before we get down to the communicating part of telephone conversations, there are some rules of etiquette or behaviour that you need to follow – especially if it is your first conversation with a person. Think of this: would you go up to a perfect stranger, accost him or her without an introduction and straightaway plunge into a conversation? Most likely, you would not. You would politely introduce yourself and then ask permission if you could talk to him or her. The same procedure applies when you are on the phone. In fact you need to be even more circumspect, when you are on the phone because you have no idea how the person you are calling is engaged or what he/she is doing.
First ascertain that you have the correct number, and then that the person you wish to speak to is on the line. Now you can introduce yourself and then ask if that person is free to talk to you. When you call someone for work purposes, you always need to tell them your name and the company for which you work. If you are calling a person for the second time, you would still need to give your name and that of the company in order to jog that person’s memory – do not assume that because you have spoken before, she will remember you. In fact, you can also refer to the previous conversation or meeting.