Graham Bentley from workforce management company, Kelly's, suggests keeping the following in mind to improve your skills whenever you pick up the phone:

•    Remember to introduce yourself when answering the call, and ask the caller who you are speaking to. This immediately puts both the caller and yourself at ease and you will also know how best to speak to them.

•    Listen to the caller and take the time to hear and understand what it is that they are trying to say. It is always a good habit to repeat the information back to the person on the line especially if you are taking a message.

•    Be aware of your tone of voice, and try to sound enthusiastic and upbeat at all times. A ‘smile’ can often be heard over the phone!

•    Give your full attention to the caller; rather than scratching for a pen in your desk, paging through a magazine or reading your emails. Concentrate on the caller and what they are saying. Do not eat or drink while you are on the telephone and try not to get distracted by people around you.

•    Speak clearly and don’t mumble. The caller cannot see your face or body language, so taking the time to speak clearly and slowly is very important.

•    Convey your points in a factual, sincere manner and be polite and professional throughout the conversation.

•    Let the caller know if you are placing them on hold. Mention to them who you are trying to get hold of and who they are being put through to, instead of just sending them to someone else.

•    Check in with the caller periodically if you need to put them on hold for an extended period of time. Make sure they know you haven’t forgotten about them.

•    Thank the person for calling and ask them to call again. Developing good telephonic relationships can only help you in your career growth.

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