How to Use the Telephone

Most of us use the telephone on a daily basis, but we may not always do so in the recommended way. Here are some helpful steps for better phone experiences.


Mute or turn off the television before attempting to use the phone.

Always say “Hello.”

Do not say anything else, unless you already know who is calling. Jokes, personal greetings, or random words can be off-putting to unknown callers.

Use an approved company greeting when answering a business call.

Do not just say “Hi,” as some callers will consider this unprofessional.

Allow the line to ring at least five times before hanging up.

This gives the other party enough time to finish (or interrupt) whatever they may be doing and come to the phone. If you called just to chat, hang up at five rings, otherwise it may get bothersome to the other party.

If possible, ask anyone you call if it is a good time to be calling.

Do not simply launch into a monologue without checking to see whether the other person is busy.

Be sure to state the purpose of the call early in the conversation, and thank the other person before you complete the call.

Be patient and listen to the caller carefully.



  • Have a pen and paper handy, or be ready at the keyboard to write down or type any addresses, phone numbers, dates, or other important facts that might be discussed during the call.
  • Smile while you’re talking. This has a proven positive effect on the conversation.
  • If a person does not answer by five rings, assume that they are talking on the phone to another caller via call waiting. Excess ringing is annoying while attempting to talk to another person.


  • Make sure that background noise is kept to a minimum during the call – including music, television, pets and children.
  • Be aware that if the other person says, “Well, I’d better let you go”, this is code for “You are talking too much and I need to hang up!”
  • Do not chew gum, eat food, drink, or go to the bathroom while on the phone.
  • Do not throw the telephone, drop it, or allow it to become dislodged and fall to the floor – the noise can be very rude to the person on the other end.
  • Do not use the phone for abusive purposes. Harassing others with obscene or prank phone calls is not appropriate, and it may be illegal.

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