Professional Communication

Professional Phone Practices

In this chapter you’ll learn how to create clear voice and text messages that get results and make you look professional.

Clear and Professional

Being professional on the phone is as important as being professional in person. Before picking up your phone, plan to be precise, brief and respectful.

Keep it short

Sending a text or leaving a voicemail message is easy. Making it clear and professional takes a bit more effort. Long, rambling messages confuse the recipient, waste their time, and make you look unprofessional. So keep your messages short and very clear.

Make notes:

  • Before texting or calling, consider your 1-2 key points or questions
  • Think about exactly what you want the recipient to do

Include a call to action

If you want the recipient to do something, tell them clearly and directly – but always politely. For example:

  • Please call me back
  • Please let me know before 5pm
  • I hope to see you there
  • Can you let me know, please?

End with a goodwill message

Finish with a short goodwill message, such as:

  • Thank you, I appreciate your help
  • Goodbye, have a great afternoon
  • Thank you

Texting: Keep it professional

Business texts are more formal than social texts. This means that spelling counts!

If you don’t know the recipient, avoid emojis. If the recipient is a colleague, you can use 1-2 emojis, but only the “clean” ones.

  • If you don’t know the recipient well, or haven’t texted them previously, identify yourself at the start of the message
  • Write in sentences
  • Keep sentences short
  • Use punctuation
  • Capitalize proper nouns and the first word of sentences
  • Keep messages brief
  • Add white space between paragraphs

Examples

1. You know the recipient (Formal)

Hi Steven. I apologize, but can we please reschedule our Tuesday meeting? If possible, Wednesday morning is good. Would that work for you? Thank you.

2. You know the recipient (Informal)

Hi Steve. Sorry but I need to reschedule our Tues meeting. Is Wed ok?

3. You don’t know the recipient

Hi. This is Juliana Mercado from Langara College. I’d like to meet to discuss the internship position. Are you available any time next week?


Phone calls: Speak clearly & slowly

Consider your voice and how quickly you speak. In multicultural environments we all have different accents. And your listener can’t see your body language, gestures or facial expressions that help convey your message.

  • Speak a little slower than normal
  • Clearly every word
  • Smile as you speak. You will sound more friendly

Always include your phone number

Don’t depend on call display. Always say your phone number clearly and slowly

  • Name each digit. For example if the number is 6635, say six six three five (Not sixty-six thirty-five, which can be confusing)
  • Don’t use phrases like “double seven” or “triple five”
  • Say zero, not oh. For example if the number is 604, say six zero four

Perfect Voicemail Messages

Follow this script for clear messages that get results.

  1. Greeting: Hello, or Good morning (afternoon, evening)
  2. Recipient’s name, if you know it. If you know the recipient, say your name here too.
  3. I’m calling about [topic]: For example, I’m calling about my account
  4. Your message in 1-2 sentences: For example, There’s a charge that I don’t understand. It’s a $10 fee for late payment, but I paid before the due date.
  5. Call to action: For example, Could you call me back, please?
  6. Your name and phone number: This is Joe Smith. My phone number is six zero four, eight six five, one two seven three.
  7. Good will message: For example, Thank you so much. Have a great day.

Examples

1. You know the recipient (Formal)

Hi Steven, this is Juliana. I’m calling about our meeting next Tuesday. I won’t be able to attend and would like to reschedule. Could you let me know if that’s possible, please? My number is six zero four, eight six five, one two seven three. Thank you, goodbye.

2. You know the recipient (Informal)

Hi Steve, it’s Jules. I’m calling about our meeting next Tuesday. I can’t make it; do you mind if we reschedule? Let me know if Friday would work. My number’s six zero four, eight six five, one two seven three. Thanks, have a great weekend!

3. You don’t know the recipient

Hello. I’m calling about a letter I received from your office. It says that I need to reapply for my visa. I don’t understand why I need to reapply, or how to do it. Can you help me, please? My name is Deep Singh, and my phone number is six zero four, eight six five, one two seven three. Thank you so much, goodbye.


  Self-Assessment 


  Canadian Workplace Quiz 


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Professional Business Practice by Lucinda Atwood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.