by Rosalyn Gist Porter, Business Communications Coach, Better Speaking Skills
The phone rings. It’s not your best friend, your sister or your mother. It’s not a social call. It’s work-related. How can you sound professional when you’re standing in your pajamas or sitting in yoga pants?
Working from home is no longer a choice since the coronavirus closed many workplaces. But you can choose how you present yourself when you answer a business call or call a client, co-worker, or your boss.
No one cares if you’re standing in your kitchen or sitting on your patio, but you must always care about your professional image.
Whether you are wearing a business suit or leisure ware when the phone rings, there are six mistakes to avoid—if you want to sound professional—while working from home:
Mistake #1 - Answering a business call with a warm, friendly, casual greeting. What? You want to slowly warm up your caller. Answer crisply and professionally, if you don’t know the caller’s identify. When the caller identifies themselves (and you know them), greet them like a friend. Add enthusiasm to your voice. This simple shift makes your business caller feel special. You’re telling them you’re happy to hear from them.
Mistake #2 – Multitasking. Don’t watch TV, check emails, make texts or surf the internet while taking a business call. The other person will notice the slight lag in your response time, even on personal calls. My sister just asks me, “What are you doing?”
Mistake #3 – Eating, drinking, or typing. Do not eat, drink or type on your tablet or computer during a phone call. The person on the other end can hear you chewing, swallowing or typing.
Mistake #4 – No body language. Don’t be lifeless. Energize your voice by standing or walking around, using gestures and facial expressions. Use the same body language you’d use if the person was in the room with you. Oh, yes, don’t forget to smile. A smile can be perceived over the phone!
Mistake #5 – Letting your mind wander. On the phone, you have to really focus on what the other person is saying. Listen with both ears. Move away from children, pets, and electronics. When you’re on a business call, you must pay attention and avoid getting distracted.
Mistake #6 – Sounding tentative and unsure. When you are on a business call, you want to sound decisive and authoritative. “I think”, “I just want to”, and “I hope” are words that don’t instill confidence in your abilities. So substitute them for more confidence-building alternatives like: “I will”, “I am going to…”, “Absolutely” or “Definitely”!
These six tips will make it easier for you to sound like a boss, even if you’re wearing yoga pants! As more Americans are making and taking business calls at home, it’s important to remember that business communications is always about “business”.
By the way, what is the craziest outfit you’ve worn on a “business” phone call?
For more ways to elevate your image, career or business from your home or your office, get the Better Speaking Skills Newsletter. You’ll get game-changing videos and easy-to-use communications strategies. Sign up for this free resource at https://betterspeakingskills.us/