How to avoid making awkward phone calls

PhoneI was inspired by a cheesy infographic I found on HubSpot this week to comment on how we can be more effective at making phone calls.

You may have experienced those slightly awkward moments during a phone call when your words just didn’t seem to flow. You couldn’t even get started.

It’s not surprising that sometimes your phone calls don’t work out. If you were sending an email you would probably think in advance what you wanted to say before hitting ‘send’. So why wouldn’t you do the same before making a phone call?

OK, so not for every phone call you make. But for the important ones you may want to think about it first. I want to highlight a couple of points from the infographic (see below) because these are useful for almost any type of verbal communication.

One of the most obvious but also overlooked points is to be clear about what your purpose is. As it’s quick and easy to pick up the phone it’s tempting to skip this step, and rush into the conversation, only to end up rambling and losing your way later on.

Thinking through your main purpose, and jotting down a few key points, forces you to clarify your thoughts. During the phone call, that small preparation helps to keep you on track, gives the impression that you’re an organised thinker, and helps you to relax into the conversation.

So instead of racing into the call, take a minute to think, why are you contacting that person, what do you want to achieve and how precisely will you do that?

When you reach the end of the call it pays to summarise what you have discussed and any actions that you have agreed. This is similar to formal meetings at work when, at the end if an agenda item, the chairperson sums up, and makes a note of what needs doing and who will do it.

If it has been a long call, there’s also a good chance that either or both of you won’t have remembered all of the action points anyway. So there’s no harm in conducting a quick recap.

So think about your purpose and summarise at the end of your phone call. Doing these two things will increase your impact almost straight away.

And if you’re interested in the infographic here it is, but remember I did warn you that it was cheesy…

Please click here if you cannot view the infographic below

Get over phone call awkwardness


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