An Exclusive Guide to Telephone Etiquette- 6 Steps to Follow at Workplace


We all may be using a telephone from the age we started speaking. One may wonder what needs to be learnt for a telephonic conversation. Well, you must understand that your work environment is different and expectations of the people are also high. Speaking to colleagues, clients, managers over the phone is different from how we speak to our friends and family.

One thing to always remember is that the first impression is the last impression. So try to leave a good impression on others by following the simple tips while having your next conversation on telephone.

1# Pre-calling Guidelines

When you need to make or receive a call, here are some of the points that you need to take care before engaging in the telephonic conversation.

  1. Prepare an agenda of the call. Write down all the points that you want to discuss on the call.
  2. Always keep a notepad and a pen handy at your desk.
  3. If there is a noise near your desk, go a to quiet place first, before making a call.
  4. Before making the call complete all your other activities like talking to someone else, drinking water, chewing gum, eating etc. Your caller should not get disturbed by such activities during the call.
  5. Be prompt in receiving the call. Do not let your caller wait for too long.

2# Receiving/Making the Calls

The first step after answering the call should be to greet the person on the call and introduce yourself. You can introduce yourself by simply saying “Hello.. this is Anna” or “Anna here”. When you are calling someone, it will be good to add the name of the company or department along with your name, for eg., “This is Anna from HR department” or “Hello.. I am Anna calling from XZY company”. This will let the person know with whom he is speaking to.

Next, as a courtesy ask the person, to whom you have called, whether it is a good time to speak. This is important when you are calling without giving any prior intimation about the call.

Some points to remember:

  1. Always be polite while speaking on phone irrespective of the rank of the person on the other side.
  2. In case of calls in different time zones, greet the person as per his time zone.
  3. Do not let your frustration or irritation be seen to the caller, when answering the call. Irrespective of your mood, answer the call with a smile. Even though the person cannot see you, he can sense your mood with your tone.

Bored from the Work from Home Routine?

3# Focus on the Call

Many people have the habit of browsing on a laptop or cell phone, or doing some other work, while having a telephonic conversation. This is not a good practice, as while multi-tasking, you can lose your focus on the call.

As a core rule of communicating through any medium, one must give 100% attention to the conversation and the people involved in the conversation.

Some points to remember:

  1. Leave all your ongoing work on hold while having a telephonic conversation.
  2. Listen actively to what the other person is saying.
  3. You can use some gestures like saying “Ok” in between, when the other person is explaining or saying something. This will indicate the other person that you are involved in the conversation.
  4. If required, take some notes about the conversation for future reference.

4# Putting Call on Hold

Many a times, there can be situations during the call, you need to engage in something else unavoidably. At such times, you need to keep the person on call on hold for some time. Though keeping the call on hold doesn’t sound good, but many times you have to do it for reasons like call received on another phone, visitor on your desk, searching for information etc.

Some points that you can follow so as not to offend the other person on the call.

  1. When you are keeping the call on hold, just don’t do it without taking the permission of the person on call. You can simply ask, “There is another call coming, can I keep the call on hold for some time”, or “Can I keep the call on hold, while I retrieve the information required”.
  2. When keeping on hold, do not keep the person waiting for more than a minute.
  3. After getting back to the call, apologize for keeping on hold.
  4. If you need to keep the call on hold for a long time, simply take the caller’s number (if number is unknown) and ask him if you call back in sometime.
  5. When asking to call back, don’t let the other person callback you, after finishing your work, you should call back immediately.

How to Reduce Stress at Work: 8 Simple Tips that Anyone can Follow

5# Conference Calls

With people working in different geographies and locations, conference calls have become very common in the office culture. Instead of having meetings in person, people prefer conference calls for such meetings. Conference calls are different from regular calls. On conference calls, the number of people are more, may be with different ranks, geographies etc. One must be more careful while attending a conference call, as one small mistake will let down your impression in front of the entire audience.

Let us look at some important etiquette that one must follow during a conference call.

  1. Always prepare in time for the conference calls with all your notes and agenda.
  2. Be punctual in joining the conference call. Entering late and keep others waiting is not a good practice.
  3. When entering the call, don’t make a silent entry. Introduce yourself and let others know who has joined the conference. You can just simply say “Hi, this is Anna here”.
  4. The person who invites for a conference call, should be taking the lead and in-charge of the call. Make a brief introduction about the people who are on the call and then let everyone know the agenda of the call. As a lead, one by one give the chance to speak to everyone.
  5. Be an active listener. Always listen first to what the other person has to say. If there is a conflict, raise your point only after he has finished speaking. Interrupting while others are speaking gives a bad impression.
  6. Always keep your phone on mute when you are not speaking. Background noise leads to a poor quality of call and disturbs everyone. Only when you need to speak, unmute yourself and then speak.
  7. When in the call, give complete attention to the call and avoid multitasking. You never know when your name in being called out for an input, and if you miss it, you will be missing a very important opportunity.
  8. Always make a note of all the important things and to do list of activities discussed on the call. Do not wait for the minutes of meeting from the others. You never know, if suddenly your manager may ask to send out the minutes, or may just ask to give a brief. Always be prepared for such situations.
  9. Before ending the call, the in-charge should summarize the call very briefly so that all the participants end the call with the same understanding without any conflicts.

6# Personal Calls and Cell Phones at Workplace

Nowadays, everyone carries their own cell phone at workplace. Earlier the cell phones were only a simple calling device, but now it has become a smartphone. While smartphones are very handy and useful, but in office they should be used very cautiously.

Some companies have policies for employees on use of smartphones. If your organization has one, be sure to read it properly and follow it. Even if there are no formal policies, one should be careful enough to show professionalism while using it.

High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way – Book available for Free

Some points to remember regarding cell phones and personal calls at workplace.

  1. Your personal cell phone should always be kept on a silent mode while in office.
  2. Always keep a simple ringtone for incoming calls, messages and alerts. In case your phone is not on silent, the ringing of phone should not disturb the people around.
  3. Never use your office phone for personal calls. It is a very unprofessional practice.
  4. Your boss will never appreciate if you are spending more time on your personal calls. Generally, one should avoid taking personal calls during office time, but in case of important calls, one can oblige.
  5. Always go to a private place while taking a personal call. Be sure to not disturb other people, while attending personal calls.
  6. Never use restrooms to attend personal calls.
  7. Never take personal calls while in a meeting. If it is very important, you can excuse yourself and go to a private place to attend the call. But remember to keep the conversation short and return to the meeting.
  8. Do not spend time on chatting, browsing or on social media while in office. If you are caught by your boss while on your smartphone, it can give a negative impression about you.

Suggested Reading:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: