Someone just hit a button and reminded me of some of my personal pet peeves about personal phone calls. These things have been cropping up a lot in the last six months and seem to be getting worse. Nobody else may care about these things but they really grate on me.
Don’t play guessing games!
Calling someone and responding just “hello” to their “hello” is just damn rude. They could have no idea who you are, one word is not enough to recognize your voice.
When answering a phone where there are a number of people could be the one answering, you shouldn’t make someone ask who you are so they know what to tell you/ask you. Asking who you are speaking with fits in a business environment but feels very awkward for personal calls.
If you have a common name like Dave, Mike, Jennifer, etc, don’t assume that you are the only Dave/Mike/Jennifer/etc the recipient of your phone call knows. You have to have a pretty uncommon name to be the only “whatever” somebody knows. You don’t necessarily need to always add your last name but you do need to do something that will identify which one you are, like if you know them from X, mention that when you are speaking to them. Even speaking enough so they can recognize your voice is good. That takes more than three words.
When you call someone, tell them why you are calling. Initiating a call and then waiting for them to say something beyond hello is bad. This is especially important if you are calling them at work. You have no idea what they are in the middle of when you call and starting the call out with chit chat is rude. Don’t make someone wait to find out why you called or force them to ask. Saying at the beginning that you are just calling to chit chat is fine because they can tell you if they have time at that moment or not.
Good manners would include:
Identifying yourself when you are calling someone. Identifying yourself when you are answering a phone that could have different people answering it or answering a phone you don’t normally answer. There is no visuals when using phones so the voice is all we have to go on.
Don’t assume someone has your phone number (unless they are your bestest friend that calls you all the time). They may not know it or may not have access to it at the moment. Speak slowly when leaving a phone number on a message. Just because it is old hat to you and you want to say it quickly, that doesn’t mean they won’t have to replay the message 4 times to try to get each number in the right order.
When calling someone, get to the point right away. Tell them why you are calling. After that you can dissolve into casual conversation.
Don’t make people ask who you are or why you are calling. It is hard not to be rude when asking for this info and nobody whats to be rude to a friend on the phone if they can avoid it.
People didn’t use to be so rude when making phone calls. Caller ID and cell phones have removed the need for the information that has gone missing but that is no reason to be lazy. There are people out there without cell phones/caller ID, or don’t recognize phone numbers when they show up or don’t have time to read the display before they pick up the phone. These things don’t really seem to be a problem in business calls because people follow some basic guidelines and the information is given.