6 More Rules for Good Workplace Phone Etiquette

We’ve written previously about good workplace phone etiquette to follow, but there’s more to say. So, here are a few more rules worth considering.

Don’t Let Your Call Get Interrupted

There’s already an element of interruption in a phone call. Either you’ve interrupted the day of person you’re calling or they’re interrupting your day, all because something is so important that it needs a call. If you’re talking to someone on the phone, the subject of your conversation must be more important than something that can be said over text or email, so don’t let it get interrupted. Don’t let someone passing your office interrupt your call, don’t hold your call to do something else, and don’t put your caller on hold just to field another call and put that other person on hold. You have a polite and professional voice mail message for that purpose.

Don’t Speak to Retail Workers While on the Phone

You’ve no doubt seen a person talking on the phone while trying to pay at the grocery store, checking into a flight, or ordering a coffee. Don’t be this person. Just as the person you’re calling deserves your full attention, the person helping you with your groceries, checking you in, or making your coffee deserves your full attention.

Ask Before You Put Someone on Hold

Yes, we just said don’t, but sometimes hold is necessary. When it happens, make sure you ask your caller politely if they wouldn’t mind being put on hold or if they’d prefer you call them back.

Keep Your Ringtone Appropriate

It’s funny when Ron Swanson of Parks & Recreation has a gunshot as his ringtone. It’s less funny in real life. Network TV characters can get away with that stuff. People in real life can’t. Avoid a ringtone that seems like an HR conversation waiting to happen.

Give Your Call Your Full Attention

Here’s an incomplete list of things that shouldn’t happen while you’re on the phone: rustling papers, answering emails, making food, driving, playing games, moving files around, feng shui-ing your office . . . we could go on. Focus on your call.

Expect Full Attention

Of course, the flip side of giving your full attention is expecting full attention. If the person you’re speaking to seems distracted, is speaking to others, or is occupied with something other than your conversation, tell them you’ll call back at a later time.

Follow Up

After a call, send a follow up email. Note the important points of the conversation, what they said they’d do, what you said you’d do, any important dates, and anything else you think should be recorded. Of course, this isn’t just a piece of etiquette. Creating a paper trail is a good move if you want to cover yourself from problems down the road.