The Template

Every week, I maintain THE TEMPLATE, an award-winningWinner of the 2015 Plank Center Award (public relations org.) for commitment to mentorship. blog that's been viewed more than 1.5 million times by people all over the world. In every column, I provide step-by-step instruction to help you become a stronger communicator. Like I always say, "Write well, open doors!"

How to Talk on the Phone (Even Though You’d Rather Text)

Thanks to Sean Graber, an NTLB reader and CEO of Virtuali, for sending me today’s “news to live by.” Virtuali is an innovative platform for leadership development and employee engagement. It’s designed by and for millennials. Learn more here!

By Danny Rubin

Texting is the easy way out, and we all know it.

Millennials like to claim text messages are a smarter, more modern way to communicate. I call our bluff.

Our generation texts so much because we don’t like to talk on the phone. More than that, conducting business over the phone makes us nervous. 

So we text, tweet and email and hide behind the excuse that it’s “cooler” to type messages with our thumbs than utter words with our mouths.

I got news for ya: phone calls aren’t going anywhere.

A recent study from CTIA — The Wireless Association finds the number of mobile voice minutes in the United States increased in 2013 from 2.3 trillion to 2.62 trillion. Why the rise?

Well, if you don’t have a landline, then the majority of your phone conversations happen on mobile. But perhaps people, weary from texting 200 times a day, have returned to the simplicity and efficiency of a phone call.

Let me tell you…older adults wish milleninals wouldn’t text so much. Sometimes, it’s not enough to sit and wait for someone to text you back. You appear much more poised and confident if you call people directly and say what you need.

Still, I understand it’s tough to be “on the spot” in a back-and-forth exchange.

That’s why I created instructions for common work-related phone calls. Use them as a guide before your next pressure-packed conversation.

1. How to introduce yourself on the phone

You: Hi, I’m _____, and I am calling about _____.

Two points about the intro:

– Don’t say “This is ______, and I am calling about _____.” You’re not a “this.” You’re a person. “I’m _____.”

– Make sure you introduce yourself at all. State your name clearly before you ask for someone or something. That shows maturity.

2. How to make sure the company received your job application 

You: Hi, my name is _____, and [earlier this week/last week] I applied for the position of _____. I am calling to make sure you received my application. Are you the right person to talk to or should I speak with someone else?

2. How to be 100% prepared for an over-the-phone job interview

Before you dial the number, have this info ready:

– 2-3 highlights from your resume the employer would find relevant. What have you done to prepare for the job you want? That’s what the boss needs to know.

– 1 story about your work experience that demonstrates you’re right for the job (more on storytelling here).

– 1-2 examples of recent projects from the company website to prove you did your research.

– 1-2 questions about those recent projects (ex: “I see you do a lot of marketing campaigns with healthcare companies. Do you feel there’s a lot of opportunity for your team in that space?”)

 How can you help the company make more money? What’s your value-add? Have 1-2 ideas ready. (ex: “I have solid experience selling products online, and my e-commerce skills will help the company expand its offerings on the website.”)

3. How to ask about internship opportunities

You: Hi, my name is ______, and I am calling to find out if your company has any internship opportunities for the [spring semester/fall semester/coming year]. I’m a [ex: freshman or sophomore] at [school] and I’m majoring in [your major].

I was researching your company online and would like to be an intern if there are any openings. Are you the right person to talk to or should I speak with someone else?

See: The 10 Commandments of Being an Intern

4. How to show maturity on a networking phone call

Remember, you need to give before you can get so take an interest in other people. Really pore over the details of their lives. You’ll have your chance to speak soon enough.

Questions like: 

– Tell me more about you. What kind of work do you do at [the company]?

– What do you enjoy the most on the job?

– What’s a typical day like for you?

– Where do you see opportunity for your business?

See: The Six Most Powerful Words in Networking

And don’t forget to:

– Thank the person at the beginning and end of the conversation for speaking with you

– Ask if there are any ways you can help the other person

– Offer to provide additional info in case the person will connect you to someone else


What other work-related phone calls give you trouble?

Share below!

Featured photo: Nan Palmero (Flickr)


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