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Your work phone may look like your personal phone (it may, in fact, be the
same instrument you use for personal calls), but you need to differentiate
between the two. You will be using your business phone for all sorts of professional
reasons—getting and leaving information, negotiating the terms of a
The contract, clarifying issues, etc. Marianne Rosner Klimchuk, associate chairperson
of the Packaging Design Department at the Fashion Institute of
Technology discusses the need to develop skills and tact in order to communicate
in a professional manner on the phone.
Young designers entering into the work environment often take an
informal approach to communication and cross the boundaries of professionalism.
A formal, respectful, and courteous manner should always be
followed. Casual communication is only appropriate after a professional
relationship has been established.
With cell and home phones doing double duty as business/personal telephones,
it’s especially important to regulate the atmosphere of your business calls. Lee
Silber, author of Self-Promotion for the Creative Person, has this advice, “Answer
the phone like a business person. (No screaming kids, loud music, or eating.) Be
professional but remain personable. Have a signature salutation when you
answer the phone. Your voice/answering machine is a marketing tool. Treat it as
such. (Upbeat and updated is good.)”
When your phone call involves multiple details, decision-making, negotiating,
or other complicated issues, you should prepare for the call as you
would for a business meeting. Plan in advance what you want to cover and
what you hope to achieve. Don’t try to keep this in your head. Instead, write
up a simple agenda or checklist that will keep you on track. Otherwise, you
might end up focusing on the other person’s agenda and forgetting important
items of your own.