- Whenever you make a phone call, identify yourself first. Never leave the person on the other end of the line wondering who you are.
- Don't ask whether the person you want to talk to is there, is available, etc. Simply ask to speak to the person you are calling if you are calling a specific person. If you are calling for a section or department of a company, ask for that. If you are calling about a newspaper notice or if someone recommended that you call, just say so and ask the person who answered if they can direct you to the right place.
- Use notes. (Don't write out everything so it sounds like you are a bad telemarketer, though.) You don't want to blank out just as the person answers the phone. Always have a script in front of you that states who you are (yes, you could stumble when telling who you are if your are nervous,) who you are calling, what your are calling about, and anything else you may want to talk about. If this is a really important call (treat all calls as really important - even if it's just for practice,) rehearse what you are going to say and what they might say to you.
- Be prepared to speak to voice mail. Don't try to carry on a one-sided conversation with a "machine." State your purpose in calling and ask them to return your call (if that is necessary.)
- Make sure your voice mail or answering machine has a professional quality greeting. Never have "cute stuff," background music, your child talking, etc., if you expect a caller to take you seriously.
There is a lot more, of course, but at least this will get you started in the right direction.
For some more good phone tips, try these links:
Job Search Rule #21 - Use Good Telephone Skills - Part I