Telephone Golden Rules (2024)

Every time you make or receive a telephone call, you're making a lasting impression, so make sure your tone of voice and your manner of speaking are courteous.

Answering the Phone for Another Person

•If you're answering someone else's phone, give that person's name first, then yours: "Pat Farrell's office, Lisa Grotts speaking." Avoid phrases such as "He hasn't come in yet," or "She's on a break." Although these may be truths, they could give the wrong impression to the caller. A simple "Ms. Farrell is away from her desk" will do.

•Avoid leaving someone dangling on a silent line. Ask the caller if he/she would like to wait on hold, but check back every twenty seconds.


•When you take a message, make sure it's accurate. Note the date, the caller's name, phone number, and message. Listen carefully, speak clearly, and be friendly.

Making Phone Calls

•Always begin a call by introducing yourself or your company, if applicable.

•Make sure your voice projects strength and clarity.

•Use good posture and sit up straight, with your feet on the floor when talking on the phone. Believe it or not, you will have more energy and this will come across over the telephone.

•When your phone rings, answer it promptly. This shows efficiency and tells the caller he/she is important.

•If someone calls on another line or call waiting while you're on the phone (and the call does not go to voice mail or is answered by a live person), tell the caller you will call them back. The person you called first has priority.


•Follow up on all calls. If you promise information, call back within twenty-four hours.

•Change your voice mail to reflect your schedule on a daily basis.

•Time your call so it does not interfere with someone else's job. In other words, don't make calls first thing in the morning or at the end of the day.

•If you leave a message for someone, be sure and state your name clearly (spell it out if difficult), say your number slowly (repeat it twice), and always give a good time to return the call.

•If you're calling to simply answer a question asked during a previous conversation, leave the answer on voice mail if the person is not available.

•If you're calling someone you don't know, identify yourself.

•Take the time to end all calls on a positive note. Leave the other party feeling satisfied by thanking him or her before hanging up.

•Always hang up the receiver after the caller does, then replace your receiver quietly.

•Voice mail messages should be informative yet brief. People tend to get impatient with long messages and often press the # key to forward to the beep. I like to do a practice script first before I record; this way I can check on my tone and energy level.


•For security reasons, it's best not to give detailed information in a voice mail message, especially if you work at home or when you're traveling.

•Avoid amusing or musical messages at the office.

•If you have an answering service (common in a doctor's office), give them clear, written instructions on how you'd like messages to be taken. If you must, write out a script.

•Remember the Golden Rule of the Telephone: Speak to others as you want to be spoken to.

Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, on-air contributor and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (, certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on and

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Telephone Golden Rules (2024)


What is the golden rule of telephone handling? ›

If you have an answering service (common in a doctor's office), give them clear, written instructions on how you'd like messages to be taken. If you must, write out a script. Remember the Golden Rule of the Telephone: Speak to others as you want to be spoken to.

How many rings should you answer in telephone etiquette? ›

Generally, it's considered good telephone etiquette to answer a phone call within three rings. This shows the caller that you're available and responsive. Who should end the phone call first? Ideally, the person who initiated the call should be the one to end it.

What are the 5 P's of telephone etiquette? ›

It is important that you do everything in your power to avoid impeding the flow of communication. Always keep in mind that effective business telephone etiquette requires you to be: prepared, present, polite, patient, personable, professional, proactive.

How do you answer telephone correctly? ›

When answering the phone, it is important to greet the caller professionally. Use a standard greeting, such as “Thank you for calling [company name], this is [your name]. How may I assist you?” or “Good morning/afternoon, thank you for calling [company name], this is [your name].”

What are 5 good etiquette rules for the use of your cell phone? ›

Etiquette for cell phones at professional gatherings.
  • Don't take photos unless you're allowed to;
  • Don't use your phone as a way to avoid social interactions;
  • Focus on face-to-face networking;
  • Keep your phone on silent;
  • Verbally excuse yourself for important calls when necessary;
Feb 14, 2023

What is the golden rule of call center? ›

In spite of all the noise and hype involving customer service these days, it truly boils down to one simple, age-old truth, often referred to as the Golden Rule: "Treat others as you would want to be treated."

Why answer within 3 rings? ›

Answer by the third ring

Out of respect for the caller's time, try answering any call by the third ring or send it to voicemail if you are unavailable rather than letting it continue ringing. This way, you can help customers and clients in a timely manner.

How many rings should a call be answered? ›

Many professional receptionists—that is, people who answer phones for a living—strive to pick up every call in fewer than five rings. Most advice online says you should do the same.

How many rings are acceptable when answering the phone choose the best answer? ›

It should not take you more than three or four rings to answer the phone. It's a fast-paced world, and people simply don't want to wait for any type of service these days —especially not on the telephone.

Who should say hello first on a phone call? ›

Who should say hello first on the phone, the caller or the person called? The person who answers. Then the caller should return the greeting, identify themselves, and state the nature of their call,.

Do and don'ts on call? ›

Be flexible and don't bring your emotions from a previous call into your current call. Never cough, sneeze or clear your throat directly into the mouthpiece of your headset. Don't breathe loudly into the mouthpiece of your headset. Don't make up information when you don't know the answers to callers' queries.

What is not good telephone etiquette? ›

Improper Greeting. Answering the phone with a simple “Hello,” or even just with, for example, “Dexcomm,” is unprofessional, and it reflects bad phone etiquette all around. You should always answer the phone by saying hello, introducing yourself, and by stating the name of the business the caller has reached.

What is the very first thing you say when answering a call? ›

#2 The phone should be answered with a positive greeting such as “Hello,” “Good Morning,” or “Good Afternoon,” etc. Following the greeting, the person who answers the phone should give his or her name and the name of the business or organization that is being contacted.

When ending a call, you should? ›

Thank the person for their call to signal the end of the conversation. If necessary, thank the caller for any advice they gave and for any actions they've committed to. If you can't think of anything specific to thank them for, simply tell them that you appreciate the time they've taken to talk to you.

What are the 3 P's of telephone etiquette? ›

These factors remain important no matter who is on the other end of the line, and you should ensure that anyone answering phones for your company keeps the three Ps at the forefront at all times: Promptness, Professionalism, and Politeness.

What are the three basic rules for handling telephone calls? ›

Phone Etiquette
  • Answer the call within three rings.
  • Immediately introduce yourself.
  • Speak clearly.
  • Only use speakerphone when necessary.
  • Actively listen and take notes.
  • Use proper language.
  • Remain cheerful.
  • Ask before putting someone on hold or transferring a call.
Jul 23, 2020

What is one of the golden rules for taking care of customers over the phone? ›

Listen, listen and listen some more

Understanding your customer and their query is another rule that shouldn't be bypassed, whether you're taking calls from a dissatisfied customer or one that only has great things to say.

What is the 3 second rule in telephone etiquette? ›

If you're on a call with a client or a prospect, try this – wait three seconds after the other person stops talking before you respond. This might be difficult at first, especially if a client has an easy question or a prospect has an objection that you know exactly how to overcome.


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