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Taking business calls from home? You may want to rethink your phone etiquette

With many UK office workers now operating from home, conference calls have undoubtedly become part of the daily routine. Business telecommunications provider, 4Com, investigated the nation’s thoughts on bad telephone manners, revealing the habits to avoid.

According to the research, the five most annoying phone habits, are:

1. Someone having a conversation with someone else in the background (43%)
2. Being interrupted whilst speaking (42%)
3. Someone not listening/clearly appearing distracted (41%)
4. Being put on hold (39%)
5. Someone eating their food/having a drink whilst speaking (35%)

Playing music in the background (29%) and speaking too quietly (28%) or loudly (16%) were also cited as bugbears.

To ensure your calls run as smoothly as possible, Mark Pearcy, Head of Marketing at 4Com, offers five tips:

1. Sit in a separate room to others in your household. If you are at home with members of your household make sure they don’t interrupt you while on a call. Tell them you’re going on an important call, sit in a separate room and make sure nobody distracts you during this time.

2. Make sure everyone has time to speak. It’s important to make sure that each person is engaged in the call and has the chance to have their say without being cut off.
Put your microphone on mute while you’re not speaking, take a few seconds after someone has spoken before you respond to make sure they’re finished, and if you start speaking at the same time as someone else, stop and let them speak first.

3. Make sure you’re present. Make sure you’re listening to everyone who is speaking and responding when necessary. A video call can sometimes help with this as there’s nowhere for you and your colleagues to hide!

4. Have a snack, drink or break before your call. Before a long call, make sure you have eaten so you’re not doing this while speaking to your colleagues. It’s perfectly fine to have a drink while on a call but try not to do it when you’re speaking. I’d also recommend taking a toilet break before a call to avoid needing to break and put your colleagues on hold mid-call.

5. Speak at the right volume. It’s important not to shout or whisper while speaking on a call and speak at the volume you would normally; using headphones can help with this if you’re struggling.

Mark concludes: “It’s never been more important to understand the etiquette of proper phone communication.

“Having good manners on the phone, and making sure everyone is heard and understood, is more important than ever at this difficult time.”

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