People form opinions and make judgments about us in the first 60 seconds they see us and make judgments about us based on the way we sound.
Tips When Leaving a Telephone Message
- Do not Speak Too Fast. Slow down when you are leaving a message, especially if you have an accent. At times, one receives many messages that one cannot even understand what the person is saying. Even worse, one cannot write fast enough, meaning that one will find himself replaying the message several times to record the entire message.
- Pronounce Your Name Clearly. Pronounce your name slowly and clearly, especially if your name is not a common name. Spell your name slowly if necessary. Allow people to get the correct spelling of your name.
- Slow Down When Giving Your Telephone Number. This is the biggest complaint in a telephone conversation. People state the telephone numbers fast. Dictate the numbers slowly and place a pause somewhere in the sequence of providing your number. People will appreciate this.
- Give your Company Name, Your Title and Why You Are Calling. Describe to the person, in a few short sentences who you are, the company you work for and why you are calling. If you are requesting information, leave a detailed but brief message.
- Let People Know When to Call You Back. Leave a date, time, and preferred telephone number for people. They cannot return your telephone call if you do not leave your telephone number. Providing them with the preferred time to call back makes it much easier for them.
- Always Sound Professional. This is important, especially that people judge you by the tone of your voice and what you say. If you come across sounding unprofessional in your message, they may not return your telephone call. Also, do not leave very long, winded messages or they will stop listening.
Apart from these general tips on the telephone conversation, there are some specific tips bordering on the telephone conversation in the second language environment. At this juncture, let us examine them.
Telephone Tips in the Second-Language Environment
- Speak Slowly and Clearly. It has been confirmed globally that listening to someone speaking in a second language over the telephone can be very challenging because you cannot see the person you are trying to hear. The situation may even be more difficult for the person you are talking with to understand you. You may not realise that your pronunciation is not clear because the native people in the environment already know and understand you. Pay special attention to your weak areas when you are on the phone. Experts suggest that if you are nervous about using the phone in English, you may notice yourself speaking very quickly. Practice or write down what you are going to say and take a few deep breaths before you make a phone call.
- Make Sure You Understand the Other Speaker. As applicable to all language environments, in the second language environment do not pretend to understand everything you hear over the telephone. Even native speakers ask each other to repeat and confirm information from time to time. This is especially important if you are taking a message for someone else. Learn the appropriate expressions that English speakers use when they do not hear something properly. Do not be afraid to remind the person to slow down more than once. Keep your telephone in an area that is away from other noise distractions such as the radio and television.