The health crisis that is shaking the planet is also transforming the professional world, making remote work essential. However, to conduct a successful telephone conversation, voice, tone, pronunciation and other elements come into play. So how do you improve your “telephone profile”?
A spoken voice trainer and author of the book La voix parlée et le savoir-être en communication [The spoken voice and communication skills], Marie Guimont works mainly with business people from all walks. It is obvious to her that the growing popularity of teleworking is forcing us to rethink our communication strategies and habits. “When you use a device, you have to make sure your voice is heard,” she says. It’s the key to good mutual understanding.
Here are some tips, in no particular order, to improve your “telephone profile”.
Prepare before the call
Preparation, both in substance and in form, accounts for 90% of the work, Marie Guimont believes. With this in mind, it is worthwhile taking a moment before the call, not only to set your thoughts in order, but also to warm up your voice, and even do some diction and breathing exercises.
Take care of the first sound impression
A good mood can be felt even from a distance, but it doesn’t help to adopt a falsely jovial tone or to force a smile, says the expert. In addition, the strength and tone of the voice goes a long way toward the first impression. If you speak too loudly, your counterpart may perceive anger (even if this is not the case!), while speaking too softly may often be seen as timidity. “We all have the mirror reflex – one adapts to the other,” Marie Guimont believes. “If someone crosses their arms, we want to do the same. The same applies with oral communication. So you have to put the person at ease from the start and set things up for a pleasant exchange.”
Taking the time to identify yourself clearly… and slowly
One of the most frequent mistakes is talking too fast, especially at the beginning of a call, says Marie Guimont. The communication coach suggest slowing down your speaking rate, especially when it comes time to mention your name and the name of your company. “The best thing to do is to speak slowly enough so that the person does not have to ask you for basic information again or have you repeat it several times,” she says. Speaking fast also has the effect of stressing your counterpart.
Listen and ask questions
Do not hesitate to intersperse the discussion with recaps, or to ask your counterpart if everything is clear or if there are any questions. “From a distance, it doesn’t take much for people not to understand you,” says Marie Guimont. “You have to be aware of it.