How to Effectively Communicate over the Phone

Effective communications over the phone require clarity of speech, knowing what you want to convey, and a willingness to engage with someone using good listening skills and prompts. This article provides some of the basics required to effectively communicate during a phone call.


Answer the phone specifying who you are.

It can be disorienting for a caller when they don’t know with whom they’re speaking. Try to have a bright, happy voice when answering, as this gets the conversation off to a good start.

Speak clearly.

Pronounce your words well and try to avoid mumbling, gushing, or speaking too quickly. If the person on the other end is hard of hearing or speaks a different language from your own, speak slowly and either speak a little louder or more clearly than usual.

Use words that make sense to the other person.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to speak teenspeak with an elderly grandmother. She isn’t necessarily going to “get it”. Adjust your language to fit the listener.

Use good, descriptive language when you are trying to evoke images in the listener’s mind.

If you need to describe something well, try to choose words that identify its shape, color, size, etc.

Write down important points before making a call.

If you’re worried that you’ll forget something when you call someone, or that you’ll get tongue-tied and not say what you meant to, write a prompt sheet before the call and keep it in front of you. Refer to it if you get flustered during the call.

Repeat important points during a call.

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