A few tips to keep in mind.

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While text messages, e-mail, and social media platforms are popular means by which we communicate, there’s no avoiding the still-ubiquitous phone call. Love it or hate it, someone’s always on the line. Thanks, Alexander Graham Bell. We receive telephone calls all day, every day, and each has a different purpose. However distinct the calls, though, there are a few etiquette tips that always apply. No matter who’s calling, these strategies will help to ensure a polite and professional impression when picking up the phone.

Timing

When receiving a call, it’s courteous to pick up the phone promptly or send the call to voicemail. Out of respect for the caller's time, try not to let the phone ring endlessly.

Greeting

When you pick up the phone, begin by offering your greeting of choice. “Hello” is always a polite option, as is “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon.” Confirm who you are (“This is Amanda”) and the identity of the person calling (“To whom am I speaking?”) so that all parties begin the call on the same page.

Caller ID

If you have a caller identification feature and know who is on the other end of the line, the greeting process should be even easier. Picking up the phone with “Hello” followed by the caller’s name is perfectly acceptable.

Clarity

Be sure to speak clearly so that the person on the the call can understand you. If the connection isn’t clear and it’s difficult to hear, bring that up immediately so that the caller is aware. You may need to hang up and try the call again or, if dealing with a cell phone, move to a location where your phone can receive a stronger signal.

Tone

When you’re speaking into the telephone, be sure to smile—even though the caller can’t see you, it makes a world of difference.

For more etiquette tips, check out 5 Etiquette Rules You Probably Didn’t Know About Being a Good Weekend Guest and Etiquette Tips All Southerners Should Know.

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What are the telephone etiquette strategies you always follow? Think about it the next time your phone rings. Just as the world of technology changes, so too does the realm of telecommunications. However, proper etiquette is always in style.