Put A Smile In Your Voice
By: Linda M. Malesic, President, Malesic Associates

Can you hear a smile on the telephone? You bet you can. Our attitude is projected in all of our voice qualities. If you are in a bad mood today, your caller can hear it. If you are feeling up, positive, and in a great mood, your caller can hear that too.

What does your telephone voice say about you today? Remember this: the person on the other end of the phone can't see you - can't see your facial expression, can't see your smile or frown, and can't read your body language. But your caller can definitely hear what frame of mind you are in today.

My business associate and friend, Susan, understands this concept very well. When she answers the phone, she always (and I do mean always) welcomes her caller with a pleasant, professional voice. In the 15 years that I have worked with her organization, Susan projects a wonderful positive attitude. What a joy it is to call her!

Your voice is setting the tone for the conversation. Whether you are talking with an internal customer or an external customer, the impression you make is critical. There are some positive things that you can do before you answer the phone to help you project that professional image. Here are a few techniques that guarantee a smile.

Place a photograph next to your telephone. It should be a photo that will bring a smile to your face the moment you look at it. Perhaps it is a picture of your vacation in Hawaii or a family photo taken on your child's birthday. Doesn't that make you feel good!

Take a deep breath. Remember to take your deep breath before you answer the phone. And I do mean before. If you are in the middle of a deep inhalation, you may give the impression that you are having a medical emergency. This is definitely not the impression you want to make.

Check your smile. You may think that you are smiling, but you may be very surprised if you could just see yourself. Many corporations have decided to place small mirrors next to all their telephones. Employees can look at themselves as they answer the phone to see if they are really smiling. This is a great idea. And it really works. I have encouraged my clients to do the same thing. The feedback I receive is always positive.

Now you are ready to answer the phone. Look at your photo, take a deep breath, and smile. You will be amazed at the difference these quick techniques will make. So put a smile in your voice - I can hear it.

Learn More: Telephone Skills | Building Lasting Relationships | Handling Difficult Situations | Thinking On Your Feet | Customer Appreciation is Not Just for the Holidays

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