How I wish companies would encourage their employees to learn how to speak clearly on the phone.
A very usual part of the day in the life of a Realtor, I've been trying to hunt down some information, specifically about a bank-owned property. Not being able to locate a direct phone number, I called a local bank number to begin my quest. The phone rings and I'm connected with a "banker."
A muffled voice mentions something about the bank name and her name, neither of which I was able to catch.
"Can you repeat that, please?" I inquired.
Thinking that would have yielded a slower and more distinct response, I was disappointed to get the same muffled answer.
So I just responded for my own clarification, "I was trying to reach (insert name here) bank for assistance with a bank-owned property, ideally to speak with the property preservation department."
The rest of the phone call didn't go much better.
I ended up calling a different number for the bank and was connected with a gentleman, who was quite nice, but who said his own name so fast and indistinctly, that I had to repeat it back to him for clarification. Frustrating!
When my older daughter was in high school, one of her friends had left a message on the answering machine that was nigh on to impossible to decipher. That week, at the GS meeting at my house, I decided to use that to help the girls. I had them call my home number and leave a message so we could then listen to the results. It helped them realize that the way they spoke on a phone did matter and that they might be shutting doors on those part-time jobs for which they were applying, or in the future, to colleges and internships.
When it comes to the basics though of how you sound on the phone and how distinct (or not) you are, ask a trusted friend and don't be offended by the response. Truly not sure of how you sound? Try leaving messages for a colleague you trust and each do a critique of the other. Join a toastmasters club. Ask the advice of someone who is a strong communicator. Be aware of your surroundings when you make a call, whether it's the music or dog barking or children playing in the background or even the sound of the wind as you chat while navigating a parking lot.
Although there MAY be a bathroom on the right and misheard song lyrics might bring about some treasured memories and a laugh, misheard words can hinder your business.