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How to answer a phone professionally

Even though this is a time of text messaging, and emails, as a professional, you're still going to need to talk on the phone. And how you answer it will set the tone. You have those first few seconds to convey that you're someone, or you're a nobody.

Now waitaminute, I'm not talking how a receptionist should answer the phone. If that's you, then you are probably given a short line like, "Hello, XYZ corporation, how may I direct your call?" I'm talking about the person that the receptionist is directing the call to.

And I'm not talking about answering a call from someone whose name appears on your phone, in which case you would just say, "Hi, George", or whatever the name is. I'm talking about a call coming to you from a potential new client, or something like that. They don't know you. And they want to talk to someone, not be pawned off on a nobody. And if you're someone, speak your name.

At my first job I answered the phone, "Corporate Marketing, this is Brad". Now I just answer with "Hello, this is Brad". Giving someone your first name (and that's all) tells them that are talking to someone.

So that's where you start. Are you someone? Or are you just an anonymous voice on the phone? It's up to you to decide.

If it makes you nervous to give people your first name, then you are probably someone with a Facebook profile photo of your dog, or something. And maybe your Facebook name isn't even your real name. And I respect that. Many people want to be anonymous. But to me, giving my first name doesn't reveal anything about me except that I'm someone. And if you answer the phone without giving your name, I will be polite, and see if you can transfer me to someone who can help.