Proper Etiquette for How To Answer the Phone

A few tips to keep in mind when answering a ringing phone.

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While text messages, e-mail, and social media platforms are popular means of communication, 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 daily, and each has a different purpose. However distinct the rings, 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.

Proper Phone Call Etiquette

Phone Call 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.

Phone Call Greetings

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.

Phone Caller ID

The greeting process should be even more straightforward if you have a caller identification feature and know who is on the other end of the line. Picking up the phone with "Hello" followed by the caller's name is perfectly acceptable.

Phone Conversation Clarity

Be sure to speak clearly so the person on the call can understand you. If it is difficult to hear or the connection isn't clear, 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.

Phone Call Tone

When speaking on the telephone, be sure to smile—even though the caller can't see you, it makes a difference.

Think about these etiquette tips the next time your phone rings. Just as the world of technology changes, so does the realm of telecommunications. However, proper etiquette is always in style.

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