Whether you are applying for a job or talking with a potential business partner or investor for the first time, it is critical for you to know how to use proper etiquette when talking with them on the phone.
Because the person cannot visually see you, this means that they will place a great emphasis on the things you say, the way you speak, and also on things that you will not say.
You can fail a phone interview just as easily as you can a physical interview, and many people fail either because of a lack or preparation, or because they do not take the phone interview seriously.
The first step in preparing for a phone interview is to think about your voice mail. Does you voice mail message sound professional? Some people add music or silly messages to their voice mail, and this is extremely unprofessional.
If a potential employer or business partner calls you, and they get a goofy message where you are either making jokes or have music playing, they will immediately take it to mean that you are not serious about the relationship, and will in all likelihood cease dealing with you.
While funny voice mails may be comical with friends or family, it is annoying and unprofessional to those who are potential employers. If you have such a voice mail, get rid of it as soon as possible and replace it with something professional.
The second step in developing proper phone etiquette is to always be available at the time both you and your potential employer agree to talk. If you schedule to talk with someone at a specific time or date, and the person calls and you are not ready, this puts you in a bad position.
Even if you have a professional voice mail, having them leave a message for you on the day you are scheduled to speak will more than likely cost you the job opportunity you have been seeking.
Once you are actually on the phone speaking to someone, it is next important to monitor your voice and environment. Being in the wrong environment can kill your chances of acing the phone interview.
Before you take that phone interview, make sure you are in a quiet place
If you are talking with a potential employer on the phone, and you have music playing in the background, or the television running, not only will you create a bad impression, it may also be difficult for the person on the other end of the line to hear what you are saying and vice versa.
When either you or the person you are speaking to has to ask each other to speak up, or reference background noise, this is bad news. A phone interview should always be as smooth as butter.
The only thing you should be talking about is the job prospects, and nothing else. Make sure the TV is turned off, and make sure no noisy friends, family members, or roommates are in the room while you talk. The area in which you speak should be as quiet as a library.
During a phone interview, saying too much can cause you to fail
When you speak in the phone, make sure you speak up loud enough for the recipient hear you, but not too loud either.
Speaking too loud will annoy the recipient, but speaking too low will also annoy them and they will eventually ask you to talk louder.
Again, this is unproductive conversation, and takes you away from the core purpose of the call.
Of all the mistakes you can make when conducting a phone interview, the worst is to say more than what is necessary.
When you are asked a question, answer it and wait for the interviewer to move on to the next one. Do not ramble on, this just increases the chances that you will say something foolish.