Business Telephone Etiquette: What To Say

What To Say If The Person You Want To Speak To Is On The Phone

Here’s a business etiquette tip that will help you avoid playing telephone ping-pong.

It is a marvelous way to get past gatekeepers, and directly to decision-makers.

If the gatekeeper–secretary, administrative assistant, or his/her colleague–tells you: “Mr. Thompson is on the phone” or “Mr. Thompson is in a meeting,”  here’s what you can say.

“I’ll be willing to hold if Mr. Thompson wants me to.  Are you where you can let him know?”

This tactic won’t work every time, but it does work often enough for you to try it.  The reason is that every time you miss talking with your target individual—unless he/she is a close friend—you reduce your chances of ever getting through.

If this tactic seems overly aggressive, bear in mind that Mr. Thompson’s  “phone call” may be winding down, or it may not be an important call.  And the “meeting” Mr. Thompson is in may not be important.  Mr. Thompson may appreciate an excuse to end it.

So go ahead and experiment with this approach.  One of our writers tried it recently. The  secretary sent her boss (who was on the phone) an email.  Bingo!

If the tactic works only one time out of four, it’s worth trying.

And one more business etiquette tip.  Make a note of the gatekeeper’s name, if he/she complies with your request, and express your appreciation:  “Thank you Terri for being so helpful.”

This tip about business telephone etiquette will prove to be a time saver, will result in more success reaching target individuals, less time playing telephone ping-pong.

If you’d like to learn more time savers like these, we highly recommend,

THE Lincoln Quotation Book

 Don’t get embarrassed using a spurious Lincoln quote.  Here’s a quotation book you can trust:

The Words Lincoln Lived By

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“Not only does Griessman give us Lincoln quotes, but he also weaves each one into a little jewel of an essay on that particular subject. In addition, this small volume contains “Biographical Notes” on the main figures cited and also a Bibliography of the sources quoted.” —Wayne C. Temple, world-renowned Lincoln scholar, critic, and author, Illinois State Archives

A stirring, inspirational treasury of quotations from our greatest and most admired president, the book offers rich material for interpretation, reflection, and spiritual guidance.

In these pages, Lincoln, famed as an orator, shares his wisdom on courage and determination, compassion and compromise, tolerance and tact—the essential traits that define character. The timeless impact of his words is as powerful as the achievements that have helped to make him an American hero.

–Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “The Words Lincoln Lived By” is in its 25th printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225.

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