Plus, how to master a phone interview
It is certainly an understatement to say COVID-19 has introduced numerous challenges into our personal and professional lives.
I’d like to focus on an area I deal with on a daily basis in my role as a recruiter. Many are working from home and talking with clients strictly by phone without an opportunity for face-to-face meetings. Those who have been pressed into the job market are finding themselves having phone interviews as a first point of contact, rather than an opportunity to be face-to-face for a more easily translatable impact. Speaking to someone over the phone, without the benefit of facial expression and body language, requires a higher level of focus, positive energy and the ability to convey a smile to the person on the other end without actually seeing them.
There are a plethora of helpful tips that can be implemented to allow your positivity, professionalism and personality to shine through, even over the phone. There are also various tools at your fingertips to assist in practicing presentation improvement, and one of the easiest is a simple voice recording app on your phone. Hearing yourself speak will reveal some things you may not have realized and give you a chance to work on those areas.
Here are a few quick ideas for improving your phone presence:
- Remember that a conversation involves listening as well as speaking. Be engaging, but don’t talk incessantly. Take a breath and pause as you listen.
- Smile – yes, even when the other party can’t see you. A smile can be heard.
- Sit tall or stand up to increase your energy output. Posture matters.
- Be aware of your voice inflection. Our voices make us distinctive from each other, just as our physical features do. We should be comfortable with ourselves. At the same time, we all have challenges. Whether your voice is naturally lazy in tone, high-pitched, gruff, soft, loud, nasally, overly formal or overly casual, be aware of the person on the other end of the call and make an effort to adjust as much as reasonably possible to accommodate a pleasant listening experience.
- Repeat back what you hear, not in a robotic way, but in a clarifying way. This helps ensure you’re understanding what is being conveyed and to show interest.
- Be sure you are hydrated to avoid a dry mouth and the potential for smacking sounds (particularly if you are interviewing, as you will likely be nervous and you don’t want to add to that issue).
- Consider dressing in a way that makes you feel professional and confident.
- Remember to envision the voice on the other end as belonging to an actual person of value and worth. Treat them with politeness and consideration, as if they are a fellow traveler. When you hang up, hopefully you have impacted their day in a positive way.
- Try not to be distracted by multitasking. I know this is a tall order, but to give our attention to someone in conversation is the highest form of caring.
In a world of text messaging and emails, let’s reignite the art of having a conversation with our voices and our hearts. Happy calling!