[COMMUNICATE] Remember the last time you answered the phone and heard someone ask for a colleague, a boss, or another department? What do you do? You were in a position to connect them or not.

Did you hear something like:

  • May I talk to Lorraine, please?
  • Is Jordan there?

Remember how your protection factor kicked in … or your curiosity? You may have said something like:

  • May I ask who is calling?
  • What is this regarding?
  • Who are you with?

These are “screening” questions. They shout, “Tell me about you and I’ll decide if you’re important enough to get put through.”

There’s a better way! What you say first shows whether or not you respect the person calling. How you respond is a reflection on your organization.

If the person being called is there, the very best thing to say is…

Yes, may I tell him who’s calling?”

Starting with“Yes” is the magic bullet. You’ve answered the question and indicated helpfulness.

Next, indicate that you are making it easier for the person being called, by asking “May I tell him who’s calling?” (You get the name to satisfy your curiosity and the caller doesn’t feel belittled.)

GOOD NEWS: You can still come back to the caller and say that it’s not possible to be connected.

  • I’m sorry, he’s not available at the moment.
  • He’s stepped out of his office.
  • He suggested you call next week.

Want more on this? Here’s a related Tech-Talk Tip.