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The Phone Lady's Blog

Mary Jane Copps

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Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part IV

By Mary Jane Copps | June 3, 2018

For all of us, no matter where we’ve lived, where we’ve travelled or what languages we speak, a phone call with an unfamiliar accent can be a challenge. What I discovered, when I moved from the Northern Ontario mining town of my childhood to Toronto, … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part III

By Mary Jane Copps | May 27, 2018

Every phone call has the potential to startle us and when this happens the most effective words can be difficult to find. For Heather Clarkson of the Employment Solutions Society this occurs “when people don’t follow through with what they were supposed to do, when they do … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part II

By Mary Jane Copps | May 18, 2018

One person always makes an appearance at my customer service workshops and coaching sessions – someone I’ve named the “constant talker”. I discovered them years ago while doing call evaluations and listening to a 45-minute customer conversation during which the company representative maybe said 20 … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part I

By Mary Jane Copps | May 13, 2018

The past two weeks I’ve received numerous emails from followers and clients with questions about difficult conversations. From accents to constant talkers, and from disrespectful language to unfulfilled promises, some phone calls are definitely challenging. The next few posts will feature my favourite strategies. And … Read more

Are You “Polite-ing” Yourself Out of Conversation?

By Mary Jane Copps | May 4, 2018

With some frequency, people ask me, “What is today’s phone etiquette?” I always hesitate to answer. Maybe the word ‘etiquette’ makes me stumble. It comes from the Old French estiquette, meaning label or ticket, and refers to a tradition from the 1700s of small cards with … Read more

“I’m Absolutely Loving This Conversation …”

By Mary Jane Copps | April 22, 2018

Conversation is how we continually increase our sales, retain our customers and reveal opportunities. It is the key to exceeding expectations and creating consistent business growth, yet many of us have developed the habit of avoiding conversation. We default to text communication where we can … Read more

What’s Your Customer’s Choice?

By Mary Jane Copps | April 15, 2018

Connecting with customers and prospects today, and delivering superior service, is an ongoing challenge. There are so many ways to communicate – social, email, text, phone, and so on. It’s important that we use all the tools available to reach our target markets … not … Read more

Get Out Your Cape and Communicate!

By Mary Jane Copps | April 8, 2018

The memory is vague. I was visiting someone, somewhere, and the television was on. The talk show discussion, about marriage, drifted around us, a dull background hum. And then, like an unexpected tap on my shoulder, I heard this: “When you are not communicating, it … Read more

5 Signs You’re Not Listening

By Mary Jane Copps | April 1, 2018

It was Sunday morning and I was enjoying a radio interview – a seasoned political journalist speaking with a high-profile guest. The topic interested me; I wanted to understand the guest’s thoughts and opinions. Unfortunately, the journalist stopped listening, and the conversation tumbled along without … Read more

Have You Lost Your Curiosity?

By Mary Jane Copps | March 25, 2018

One of the items on my wish list has been to talk to high school students about phone skills, and my wish came true this past week. I met with seventeen Grade 10 students at South Colchester Academy. It occurred to me that these young … Read more

Walking Your Talk … On The Phone

By Mary Jane Copps | March 17, 2018

Twitter colleague Dimitra Chronopoulos often shares her phone success with me, something I truly appreciate. In her last post, she also included a question, one that I often get asked but have never included here. So … today’s the today! Here’s Dimitra’s post: Had 3 … Read more

A Lesson From The Front Row

By Mary Jane Copps | March 11, 2018

She was one of the last arrivals to the workshop and ended up sitting in the front row. In the crowded space, I could almost reach out and touch her. For 90 minutes I was aware of her furrowed brow and how, when others laughed … Read more

Your Receptionist Needs You

By Mary Jane Copps | March 3, 2018

On Tuesday of this week a local program coordinator returned to work and listened to seven voicemail messages from me. That’s uncomfortable! I can visualize her moving through each one and rolling her eyes muttering, “Not Mary Jane again.” Why did this happen and how … Read more

5 Steps to Answering Your Business Phone

By Mary Jane Copps | February 25, 2018

Recently The Casper Agency of Saint John, NB sent me a question via Twitter. Much to my surprise it turned out to be a subject I haven’t featured in this blog. So, without further delay, here’s my best advice for how to answer your business phone. … Read more

When Does The Meeting Start?

By Mary Jane Copps | February 18, 2018

This past week, one of my coaching clients had an “aha moment” that will forever change her attitude to the phone calls she is required to make. She spoke to me about this revelation with such clarity that I need to share it with you … Read more

New Political Appointment Could Champion Phone Conversations

By Mary Jane Copps | February 10, 2018

Britain has recently done something quite remarkable to deal with a prominent social epidemic. And it turns out that phone conversations are a key element of the strategy to combat this growing phenomenon. Britain has appointed a Minister for Loneliness. Research has indicated that more … Read more

Customers That Do This … Want to Work With You!

By Mary Jane Copps | February 4, 2018

Andrea Kaye, owner of Alta-Sask Wellness, reminded me earlier this week of a very basic change in phone communication that has a big impact on her business. In her busy clinic she encounters this phone behaviour daily, and it’s possible you do, as well. Here’s … Read more

It’s 2018 – Stop Selling Like It’s 1989!

By Mary Jane Copps | January 28, 2018

Miserable winter weather recently had me juggling my schedule, allowing me to spend the day in my office. It turned into one of those awesome days of zipping through email, checking items off a to-do list, and generally feeling fabulously efficient. So when my phone … Read more

Teaching by Example

By Mary Jane Copps | January 20, 2018

A recent Twitter conversation with Janet MacDonald  of @mycampusgps  has reminded me of a question I frequently get asked, and how the answer relates directly to providing teenagers with the support and confidence they need to talk on the phone. I often get asked, “Why … Read more

Are You a Work “Protectionist”?

By Mary Jane Copps | January 14, 2018

Admittedly I’m being very liberal in my use of the word “protectionist”, which means “someone who upholds the economic policy of restraining trade between states”. But for the past few years, a similar philosophy has surfaced in our daily business lives. In an effort to … Read more

7 Ways to Reach Potential Sponsors With A New Idea

By Mary Jane Copps | January 7, 2018

On June 22, for the first time, Halifax will join a world-wide community in celebrating Social Media Day (originally launched in 2010 by Mashable to recognize and honour the impact of social media on global communication) with a full-day conference focused on learning, sharing and … Read more

One Word for 2018

By Mary Jane Copps | December 31, 2017

I’m on my way to a place where I never dreamed I’d be, and that’s perfection. – Mary J Blige Two years ago my colleague and friend Jeanie Burke, President of Home Instead Senior Care Halifax, shared with me the concept of one word – … Read more

The Phone Lady’s Best Advice in 2017

By Mary Jane Copps | December 17, 2017

If all goes according to plan, as this blog post is published I’ll be hanging out with my grandchildren in California. Lucky me! In fact I’ve had very little to do with the creation of this post because, for quite some time, I’ve had an … Read more

The Gift of Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | December 10, 2017

My childhood memories of Christmas remain very clear – everything from the taste of tourtiere after Midnight Mass, the smell of the tree in the den, the sight of presents delivered by Santa Claus – and the sound of relatives sharing stories, filling our house … Read more

We Need to Talk

By Mary Jane Copps | November 26, 2017

What is your experience with the phrase “We need to talk”? For many of us it has served as a red-flag, used just before a love interest ends a relationship or an employer delivers the pink slip. It’s a signal there’s a problem that requires … Read more

What Choice Will You Make?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 19, 2017

Last month I agreed to help a colleague book meetings with SaaS (software as a service) companies, primarily in California. This is work I enjoy and I’m able (usually) to deliver excellent results.  Also “working the phone” allows me to identify new communications trends and behaviours. While I … Read more

Letting Go of Human Connection

By Mary Jane Copps | November 12, 2017

I’m writing this on a chilly Sunday morning. I’ve just returned from our neighbourhood mailbox (a major construction project prevents us from gathering our mail daily). After sorting out the flyers, I chose to open an envelope from the Nova Scotia Health Authority. As I read the enclosed … Read more

Two Words That Don’t Belong Together

By Mary Jane Copps | November 4, 2017

Recently stuck in Halifax traffic, I was able to give my full attention to a radio interview. What I heard was a clear reminder of two words that, when put together, clearly announce our bias and can sound extremely confrontational. What are these two words … Read more

When You Abandon Your Brand

By Mary Jane Copps | October 22, 2017

While there are many things about business travel that are a bit tedious,  I do enjoy staying in a lovely hotel room; I put effort into making wise choices. But recent visits to a much-cherished hotel delivered some unexpected surprises and a powerful reminder of the importance of staying on … Read more

Silence on the Phone Doesn’t Have To Be Awkward

By Mary Jane Copps | October 14, 2017

“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them.”  Debussy In a workshop this past week Melissa of House of Auto Details wanted to know more about dealing with silence on the phone. It can be a challenge for many of us, yet it … Read more

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