Smile When Speaking On The Phone

How To Sound Friendly When They Can’t See Your Face

If you are in business, there is a good chance that you speak on the phone from time to time. It may be with vendors, suppliers, applicants, media, employees, customers or potential customers, or the public in general. No matter what your role in your company, or with whom you speak, this ‘Quick Tip’ will improve your telephone conversation skills if practiced every time you pick up the phone!

The Problem

Conversing on the telephone removes a very large amount of data we humans use to process meaning and intent during a conversation. We can’t see the other person’s body language. Are they open and relaxed, or are their fists balled up and their arms crossed?

We can’t see the other person’s facial expression. Is it calm and inquisitive, indicating that the they are interested in what I have to say? Or do they have a blank stare, or worse yet, is their face red and their teeth clenched?

We are forced to use only tone of voice to infer both mood and meaning. And since a lot of people use a more monotonous tone when using the telephone, most of these clues are removed as well.

So what is the best way to combat this problem?

Say Cheese

That’s right, smiling while talking on the phone is the number one way to improve your conversation skill. Believe it or not,you can hear a smile over the phone!Give it a try. Share this article with a colleague or friend and then call them on the phone. Take turns saying the same phrase over and over, smiling sometimes, and sometimes not. You will hear the difference!

Why is this important?

The foremost reason is it helps you to sound friendly and likable. People want to do business with people they like.

Secondly, the tone inflected by your smile can help your listener discern intent and meaning. Just as body language and facial expression would if you were face to face. If something in your voice gave your listener the wrong impression, they will simply do business elsewhere and you will never know why!

Practice All The Time

This technique is powerful, but must be used every single time. Maybe there are a lot of problems to be solved, payroll isn’t finished, your 3 o’clock appointment is standing in your doorway, one of your employees just quit, and the phone rings. Take a deep breath or two, pick up the phone, and smile!