man sitting on couch holding a phone from the 70s

How to get better at talking on the phone

Do you like talking on the phone?

Or do you prefer to use your mobile for texting and bringing friends and family together? Or for keeping up to date, checking social media and websites for the latest news and events?

If you’re looking for work, however, an important part of your job search will be talking to people on the phone. Once you’re in a job, you’ll also need to use the phone to talk to colleagues, customers, and suppliers.

man with giant mobile phone saying call me

How our phone use is changing

Research shows fewer people are using their phones  to make calls. Nearly a third of Australians don’t even make one phone call a week.

Why?

Firstly, it’s easy to take technology with us, thanks to the size of many smart phones and devices.

Secondly, communicating by text, email and social media can be quick and efficient.

But if you don’t talk on the phone a lot, you can feel nervous about calling someone.

Why do we need to talk on the phone?

Using the phone when you’re looking for work can be really helpful.

You might need to make a phone call to find out more information about a job advertisement.

You could ring employers who aren’t currently advertising to introduce yourself and ask if they’ve got any work available.

Or, you might be asked to do a phone interview with an employer.

You'll need good communication skills when you're talking on the phone for a job interview.

Tips for talking on the phone

Here are some tips on how to improve your phone skills.

  1. Stop what you are doing: End conversations. Eliminate distractions – don’t eat, drink, chew gum, email or text while talking on the phone. Try to be somewhere quiet when making a call.
  2. Have a plan: If you’re calling about a potential job, have a list of questions and anything important you want to mention. It will keep you on track and ease your nerves. Have a pen and paper handy to take notes too.
  3. Smile: You can “hear” a smile and it will start things on a positive note. Standing or sitting up straight will boost your confidence.
  4. Identify yourself: State your name and who you are (eg. My name is John Jobseeker and I’m a trainee chef looking for work). Ask if it’s a convenient time to talk. If not, arrange to call back.
  5. Watch your language: Avoid swearing, slang or too many filler words like umm and yeah. Speak clearly and slow it down if you’re nervous. Answer the phone professionally too, even if you’re not expecting a call.
  6. Wrap it up: Thank the person for their time, make a plan to follow up if appropriate, and get any names or phone numbers you might need to call.
  7. Leave a message: If you can’t get through, leave a brief message with your name, purpose of your call, and phone number. If someone’s calling you, make sure your voicemail message is professional.

Image sources: istock, giphy, img flip

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