Good phone skills are a prerequisite for working in the administrative field, and improving communication skills is a continuing goal for many in the office environment. Skill on the phone takes more than having a pleasant speaking voice, however. You can develop better phone skills, and sometimes it's as easy as learning a few tricks. Here are two tips to keep in mind that will help you develop better phone skills.
Perhaps the most important element for improving communication skills, especially over the phone, is to plan in advance what you want to say, and say it clearly and with brevity. While it may seem odd to plan a simple phone call in advance—a thing almost no one does for personal calls—the nature of office communications rewards forethought of this kind. A professional communication should aim to convey a maximum of relevant information with a minimum of wasted words or unplanned digressions. Deciding what you want to say before calling your supervisor, taking a call from the public, or even quickly transferring a call to one of your coworkers will make your phone skills a model of clarity and concision.
You can practice this skill with your personal calls. Before placing a call to a friend or family member, take just a minute or so to plan the topics you'd like to touch on and the subjects you'd rather avoid. Keeping this plan in mind during the call will help you practice steering phone conversations in the direction you'd like to go and help you get the most out of a brief conversation. You'll also do well to practice conversation techniques by going out of your way to help customers and coworkers, even when you strictly don't have to, if only to maximize your interpersonal contacts over the course of your day.
Another tip for developing better phone skills is to start and maintain a call log. Call logs aren't common in American offices, but the practice has certain advantages. Keeping track of who has called you, who you've called, when the call took place, and what was discussed is an efficient way to begin tracking your phone activity and discerning patterns. Your call log might reveal that you get most of your inbound calls in the morning and make most of your outbound calls in the afternoon. In that case, you can better arrange your other work to leave you free during peak phone hours, a measure that will help you keep the harried, impatient tone out of your voice while you're dealing with callers.
Developing a better phone persona is something everyone who makes or takes calls should be concerned with. So much business is conducted over the phone that an administrative professional with keen phone skills is a valuable asset to almost any company. By keeping these tips in mind, you can impress contacts with your professionalism and focus.
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