If you are the kind of person who gets shy or nervous when talking on the phone, you will get over it quickly once you are in the professional world. In today’s work environment, it is likely that your role will involve talking to several people on the phone. This could be for many reasons – to set up appointments, request for information, provide instructions and information, and even make presentations to one or many people. So you should try to improve your spoken English skills.
“Real Work” Gets Done on the Phone!
With teams often spread out over multiple locations across the world, it becomes critical to communicate well over the phone since a lot of real work gets done just based on phone conversations. Your ability to put your message across clearly and effectively in the absence of supporting factors such as body language and eye contact is therefore very important. When you are in a “meeting” without really having “met” any of its participants, all you have is your voice, your words, and your manner to make a great impression and do a good job.
So, What’s Different on the Phone?
The first major difference between a phone conversation and a one-on-one meeting is, of course the fact that one does not have the advantage of using non-verbal cues or signals to communicate more effectively. When you are talking on the phone, you can not make eye contact to keep your listeners’ attention. You would not even know whether you have your listeners’ attention or if their eyes are glazing over as you speak. You also can not see a listener’s body language or interpret his or her gestures.
You can not see, for example, whether he is sitting upright and listening attentively to you as he might in a face to face meeting or is just slouching in his chair and doodling on his notepad as you conduct the meeting. So, it is difficult to tell if you have your audience’s attention.
Conversely, in a telephonic meeting, your listeners do not have the advantage of being able to see you either. They can not see your energy, your body language, your facial expressions, or your posture. They have only limited non-verbal cues to put together a picture of your message on the phone.
Obviously, your verbal communication and the few non-verbal cues you have at your disposal when talking on the phone, have to be excellent in order for you to be effective and impressive.
How Can You Make a Great Impression on the Phone?
So what aspects of your communication can you control during a phone conversation to make a great impression?
Set the Right Tone
Although your listeners can not see your upright posture and the smile on your face, they can hear the energy and positivity in your voice, which can make all the difference to the impression they form about you. Starting with your first words as you greet someone and throughout the conversation, the tone of your voice can convey a range of impressions from energy, enthusiasm, optimism, willingness to help, and empathy to boredom, confusion, panic, anger, and apathy. Tone can have a powerful effect on the meaning of a sentence. When something is said in a strong tone of voice, listeners might interpret approval and enthusiasm. The same words said in a hesitant tone of voice might convey disapproval or lack of interest.
Speak at the Right Pace
If you are not used to phone conversations in a professional setting, you may be nervous while talking. This might make you rush through your words and be less clear. Being aware that you tend to speak fast by asking friends and co-workers for feedback and practicing speaking slowly, will improve your spoken English skills.
Use the Right Words
Your words are, of course, a significant factor in how effective you are on the phone. Crisp and clear sentences will help you communicate well in the absence of support from non-verbal cues. It is a good idea to make a note of what you want to say before you make a call. Even if it is something short and simple, having thought about it and even some points written down on a paper to have in front of you while speaking, will help make sure you deliver the message without fumbling.
Listening and paying attention are very important, especially when you’re on the phone. Try not to get distracted by people or happenings around you. Believe it or not, others on the call can almost always tell when you are not focused on them.
Regular Practice Can Improve Your Spoken English Skills
Depending on your job description, you may have to make several calls a day, and will soon get used to holding conversations and possibly even developing working relationships with people you will never meet. The important thing is to be aware that telephone communication is a different form of communication altogether and requires a different type of clarity and structure.
Learning English takes effort, but small steps every day can make a big difference. To learn in simple steps from home. Sign up and try the EnglishHelper learn English placement test and start from there – it’s free! Reading aloud at your level is one of the best ways to improve your spoken English skills.