8 Steps to Successful Phone Conversation
It took a mobile phone 100 years to become the largest and most complex network ever created by men. There are more than 700 million telephones today. The ability to communicate by telephone can help reduce stress in the workplace, improve your work efficiency and give you an advantage in a very competitive business environment. In fact, everything is very simply, says David Lewis the American psychologist. The secret of an effective communication by telephone consists in control of the following things:
- Your emotions.
- Nature of the call.
Control Your Emotions
Many people pertain fear of telephone communication. While the physical stress is growing you start to lose concentration and your ability to communicate effectively is reduced. Excessive face, neck and shoulders muscle strain alter your voice. A stressed male person appears to be older, peevish, and a stressed woman appears to be emotional and unpredictable.
Before you dial a number you should get rid of stress, relax mentally and physically. Here are a few exercises that will help you do this so quickly and quietly without leaving your desk.
- Tense up your muscle. Clutch the fists, purse toes, gather in stomach and make a deep breath. Hold the breath and slowly count till five.
- Breathe out slowly. Relax the whole body. Lower shoulders, and unclench toes and relax in the chair.
- Take another deep breath. Hold the breath for five seconds. During the breath take care not to clench your teeth.
- The next five seconds breathe calmly. Feel how peace and relaxation permeate your body.
- Finally, ease the nerves, imagining that you are lying on the golden sand of the clean, blue ocean shore. Hold that image in your mind for a few seconds.
How to walk way microphone fear
One cause that complicates people communicate by telephone, is the fear of the microphone. Even the smartest and quick-witted in normal life, men and women may lose their power of speech when they are asked to speak in a direct broadcast radio or television transmission. The phone itself can have exactly the same effect on people.
This fear can be defeated if you will not try to talk to the phone receiver. Instead, imagine that the person you are calling is sitting right in front of you and address him directly. Imagine how the talker reacts to your words: how he/she smiles to jokes and shines from pleasure to hear a compliment.
If you know how he/she looks like, then it isn’t difficult to imagine his portrait in mind. Some people find helpful the following thing: they take a photo and talk to it.
In a telephone conversation with the unknown person, try to imagine his appearance by his voice. If the voice is deep and resounding, then the interlocutor is likely to have strong constitution. Light and indecisive intonation might suggest a delicate and slightly bashful person.
When communicating by the telephone use exactly the same language of the body, as well as in personal communication. If the gesticulation and rich mime is the norm for you, do not dismiss them during the telephone conversation. When feelings reflect on your face, the voice becomes more flexible, confident and natural...
If you are going to have an important conversation and it can not be avoided, if possible, call you first rather than wait when you are called. That gives you a psychological advantage before your interlocutor.
There are three reasons for this:
- You decided to take your interlocutor’s time, and he assents to your desire. Responding your phone call, a person, at least temporarily, obeys to you.
- You can choose how to start a conversation, and you have more chances to talk in the right direction.
- Personally calling your interlocutor, you can not offending him finish the conversation once delivering your message.
Have a clear idea of what you want to say
Before making the phone call, you should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve by this call. Ask yourself: "What is the purpose of my conversation with this person?" If you want to arrange a meeting and suggest possible refusal, keep in mind several acceptable hours and dates. The question like: "On Friday, 23, at 10:00 – is it OK with you? " - You make your interlocutor think, if he is free at this time, rather than questioning the need to meet with you.
Postpone the call, till you can clearly state your message
The delay, which usually leads to a senseless waste of time, in the following cases could save your reputation:
- When you are angry or distressed. Having postponed the call, you give yourself time to calm down in order to express your thoughts clearly, calmly and efficiently.
- When you are too tired for successful conversation postpone the phone call and relax for better conversation.
- Postpone a call when you need to check the reliability of important facts, for example, if you want to complain about something.
If before calling you better think over again all the details as it would reduce the possibility to commit a mistake.
Make telephone conversation more reputable
To do this you have to stand rather than sit during the telephone conversation that literally will enhance your sense of power over the person and sharp your mind. When we stand all systems of our body are on alert both physically and mentally.
Change ears in order to interpret correctly
If a phone conversation requires from you analysis of complex facts and figures as well as logical and objective evaluation of information, try to hold the phone at the right ear. Sounds coming to this ear, are passed in the left hemisphere of the brain slightly faster than those received by the right hemisphere. This happens because the pulse velocity of the audible channels leading in the opposite hemisphere is a bit higher. Or, speaking the scientific language the contralateral nerve fibers slowdown is weaker than ipsilateral. Because for the majority of people left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for analysis and logical processing of information, it is often better suited to assess the truth of complex information while communicating on the telephone. Right-handers can easily do it, if not simultaneously putting down some information.
If the message is to be better assessed at the intuitive level, for example, trying to determine the emotional state of someone, hold the phone at the left ear. This means that the sounds will reach the right brain hemisphere a little earlier than the left. Since for most people the right hemisphere is responsible for the imagination and intuition, it may increase your sensitivity to signals not expressed by the words.
There are such telephone conversations, which we fear most of all - when we are called and when we have to call someone. Here is a special technique for you that allows to cope with the most unpleasant telephone conversation that you ever had to deal with.
But first we’ll give the five basic rules, which can be guided for all types of unpleasant phone calls. They can’t be done nice anyhow, but these practical tips can slightly ease your life.
1. If possible, take the initiative yourself and call first. So you can prepare for a conversation, and you won’t be overtaken.
2. Go straight to the point. Never try to alleviate the problem, bypassing acute angles. Start the conversation like this: "The reason for my call is...», then proceed to the heart of the matter.
3. If you are caught napping, never respond immediately, better apology and call back after you’ll think over your response.
4. Check your understanding of the results of the conversation. Before ending the conversation repeat what action you expect to be done.
This is important because in the process of communicating by phone, we are likely to hear - especially when we are slightly stressed – what we expect, rather than what was actually said. In addition, when appropriate repeat the key points of your position. Such repetition can by no means be considered as a waste of time - instead, it save you from even more useless waste of forces.
5. When talking on the phone always remember the rule of threefold repetition:
1) First tell your interlocutor what you are actually going to tell him/her
2) Then tell him/her what you want to tell.
3) Then repeat him what you’ve already said to him. And only them you might probably be heard.
Here are several types of calls that are usually rather unpleasant to do.
Collection of debts from an important client
The secret of success in such a conversation is - tactful firmness. In such cases there is no reason to go around or pretend that you are only going to enquire about his or her health. This started not only sounds false, but also sets the wrong tone for the entire conversation. Efficiency and directness is the best tactic in such case.
If it is hard for you to ask people about money, it might be a good idea to write down the key points of your message. Particularly important is to be precise while stating facts, account numbers, orders or dates, etc.
If from you own experience of communicating with the customer who is known as an unrivalled master of financial peculiarities and uses any excuses to delay payment until the last minute, rehearse your reaction to a possible interlocutor reaction, in order not to commit an error from the very beginning.
If, for example, he uses the classic excuse like: "The bank account has already been paid," which is considered to be one of the three most common forms of deception, it is best to accept this explanation, leaving yourself an opportunity once again to ask for the debt, when money in your opinion, should have already be received.
A good response might be considered this: "Could you tell me, please, when exactly the payment has been send, so we do not miss it?" This phrase requires the interlocutor more details. The answer like: "A couple of days ago," say that in case the money would not be received by tomorrow, you will take it that the money have not reached the addressee and have been returned to the sender, and you can expect a new check.
- Carefully plan such conversations, anticipating any possible tactics of payment delaying.
- Rehearse the call in mind.
- Be polite during the telephone conversation, but nevertheless be firm.
Hear reasonable notices of claim
Stay calm and remain unprovoked, no matter how aggressive your interlocutor might be. Having lost your composure, you will only strengthen his rage to the point when no reasonable dialogue is impossible. Moreover, you will lose a customer, even if his complaints would ultimately be met.
Let the person blow off, responding with neutral phrases like "I see", “Yes, of course", etc. Never let yourself be intimidated and do not start immediately to apologize. Get all possible information to have a full true idea of what has happened, to be able to assess the validity of complaints. Think deeper, asking open-ended questions such as: "What are other the difficulties you have faced? "" Has the Customer service been unable to resolve your problem differently?"
If you do not have all necessary information to effectively respond a question or complaint, ask the customer his telephone number and assure him that you’ll call back as soon as you get familiar to the situation. Do not hold the line, while consulting with a pile of papers or looking for information on the computer. Waiting makes the customer even more irritated. Even if you can give an immediate answer, sometimes it’s useful to say the customer that you’ll call back. This will not only give him some time to cool down, but will also make you an advantage as this time you will be calling. Psychologically the client will feel that he is already obliged to you, because you have already done something for him.
If you are wrong, acknowledge your guilt, and then politely and sincerely apologize without humiliating yourself and not bringing bad reputation to your company. Tell him you’ll do everything in your power to remedy the situation. Name your name, give your phone number and offer to address you in case any problems occur. Establishing friendly relations will not only make a complaint safe, but help your company get the satisfied customer, who in the future might do new orders. Indeed the ability to professionally address the complaint can be turned into an opportunity for other sales.
- Be polite, but, making apologies do not eat humble pie.
- Find out all the facts before choosing a strategy of conversation.
- Call back your client. This strategy makes you ahead.