Because first impressions are lasting impressions. Here are a few helpful tips to enhance your verbal communication.

1. Identify yourself at the beginning of all calls.
When placing a call, always state your name and position, along with the name of the person you are calling.

Example: “Hello, my name is John Doe, field adjuster, from XYZ Corporation. May I please speak with Ms. Smith?”

2. Be sensitive to the tone of your voice.
The tone of your voice instantly conveys your attitude. Intonation in our speech determines the message that we are trying to convey. Tone can be formal, informal, serious, comic, sad, sarcastic, cheerful and more.

Tip: Sit up in your chair or stand during the conversation. Remove anything that might be blocking your mouth, speak clear and confidently. Focus on the present conversation; do not allow what is happening in your day to be conveyed through your tone.

3. Plan what to say and discuss BEFORE the call.

Tip: Have a plan. Write down questions and discussion points. If you receive the voicemail system, plan your message. Be as direct and specific as possible.

4. Do not allow interruptions to occur during conversations.
Do not allow yourself to be distracted. Be present. Do not carry on side conversations, the person on the telephone takes precedence.

5. When leaving messages, speak clearly and slowly.
Do not use broken phrases, slang or idioms. Speak clearly and slowly. Provide your full name, phone number with area- code, and reason for the call. Repeat your name and phone number at the end of the message.

6. Use appropriate language & etiquette.
Consider any contact you have with a firm or employer as an interview. Use appropriate language, dress for the part you want, and put your best foot forward. You want to present yourself as someone who is knowledgeable, but also respectful and relatable.