The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

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The Many Skills of Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | March 11, 2023

Here are some statistics that caught my attention this week: Worldwide, 23 billion texts (Forbes 2021) and 333.2 billion emails (Zippia Oct/22) are sent each day. Of those emails, only 18% actually get opened. And we know that “opened” doesn’t automatically indicate “read” – and certainly doesn’t mean … Read more

Polish Your Listening Skills

By Mary Jane Copps | February 25, 2023
meeting

Listening is a skill we never quite perfect. So many things can get in the way of truly hearing what someone is saying to us – our emotions, our busyness, and even lack of sleep. Yet listening is the most valuable skill we bring to any conversation. Whether … Read more

Coaching Tips for Call Reluctance

By Mary Jane Copps | February 11, 2023
woman talking on the phone

Over the past 35 years, I’ve spent a lot of time reading resumes and interviewing candidates to fill proactive calling positions. It’s something my clients still ask me to do. And what was true in 1987 is still true today. Finding the right people is challenging because … … Read more

Coaching Tips for Phone Anxiety

By Mary Jane Copps | January 29, 2023

Both making and taking phone calls require skills. Whether you are managing a team responsible for these tasks, or you’re coaching yourself, you need to be able to distinguish between phone phobia/fear and phone anxiety. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a phobia is a persistent, excessive, unrealistic fear … Read more

Coaching Tips for Phone Phobia

By Mary Jane Copps | January 14, 2023
young woman working at desk looking at phone

Picking up the phone to contact and speak with customers or prospects is not “old-fashioned”. There are teams dedicated to this activity in industries that range from pharmaceuticals to finance, and from janitorial to consulting. Managing these teams, and producing the desired results (or exceeding them), can be … Read more

One Word for 2023

By Mary Jane Copps | January 1, 2023

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – John Keating For the eighth year, I’m sharing with you the concept of One Word. I was introduced to this idea at the end of 2015 by my colleague and friend Jeanie Burke. It involves choosing … Read more

The Importance of Pause

By Mary Jane Copps | December 18, 2022
woman having a phone conversation

It was January 2006 when I officially launched “The Phone Lady” brand. At that time, about 80% of my work was with sales teams, giving them the skills and confidence to pick up the phone and inspire great conversations. This work soon began to include customer service skills, … Read more

Are You Distinguished?

By Mary Jane Copps | December 2, 2022
man talking on the phone

Between messages relating to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, my inbox has been very crowded. What have I done with all these emails? Likely the same thing as most of you. I put checkmarks in the little left-hand boxes and hit delete. Most of the companies that put … Read more

The Creation of the Cranky Customer

By Mary Jane Copps | November 19, 2022
woman upset on the phone

One of the things that has increased steadily over my 16 years as The Phone Lady is requests for skills on communicating with an upset client/customer. There are numerous reasons why these skills are more in demand. One is, as a society, we are still working through the … Read more

How to Banish Blame

By Mary Jane Copps | November 5, 2022
man talking on the phone

Whether I’m working with a team on customer service or sales skills, our conversation inevitably includes a discussion about how and why everyone seems to be more irritated these days. There are lots of reasons – the economy, world politics, the environment – to name a few. These … Read more

Wish I’d Said That!

By Mary Jane Copps | October 22, 2022
woman listening on phone call

From time to time, my inbox has been like my kitchen junk drawer. You know what I mean – a destination for things I’m sure I’ll need at some point. Yet, also like that drawer, I rarely take the time to investigate the items I’ve thoughtfully saved. Not … Read more

What Alzheimer’s Has Taught Me About Listening

By Mary Jane Copps | October 8, 2022
dinner party

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. – Bryant Mcgill About eight years ago my husband, David, began to show signs of early onset Alzheimer’s. In 2017 we received the formal diagnosis. Throughout this time our lives have … Read more

Is This Missing From Your Conversations?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 25, 2022
man talking on the phone

Recently, while working with a team of experienced salespeople on a new outbound campaign to CEOs, I realized something was missing. But I struggled to find the right words to describe this “something”. By listening to the calls, I knew that everyone was including all the pertinent details. … Read more

The Sound of Judgment

By Mary Jane Copps | September 10, 2022
woman talking on the phone at desk

My husband, David, has an old sailing buddy who is very diligent about staying in touch. He usually calls every weekend to hear how we are doing and share a few stories from his own world. He’s in his 80s now, has some complicated health issues and, while … Read more

Solutions for Common Phone Communication Challenges

By Mary Jane Copps | August 26, 2022

The first time I encountered the phrase “phone phobia” was back in 2005, when I was preparing to launch The Phone Lady. At that time I was surprised to learn that making and receiving calls was an actual documented fear. Fast forward 16 years and the topic of phone … Read more

Sales Tip #2 – Fire Up Your Follow Up

By Mary Jane Copps | August 12, 2022
woman talking on the phone

There’s a sales statistic that haunts me. Sounds a bit melodramatic, right? I wish that were the case. The statistic I’m about to share with you points to a deep failure to understand what prospects and clients need. In fact, it’s a failure to honor the real truth … Read more

Customer Service Tip #3 – The Power of Pleasant

By Mary Jane Copps | July 30, 2022
female sales clerk at cash register

The skills and actions involved in creating excellent customer service are many and varied. Achieving all of them, even half of them, with every staff member, especially in a large corporation, demands constant vigilance and commitment. Fortunately, the foundation of customer service is easy and very straightforward. Its … Read more

Sales Tip #1 – Follow the Calendar

By Mary Jane Copps | July 15, 2022
man talking on the phone while using his laptop

Forty years ago this month I made the decision to launch my own business. As a naïve 20-something there was so much I had to learn. The biggest lesson, and the most life-changing, was that I had to learn how to sell. When I look back on the … Read more

Customer Service Tip #2 – Stay Current and Audit Regularly

By Mary Jane Copps | July 2, 2022
woman on live chat

Omnichannel is a word that irritates me. I hear it as industry speak, jargon, a made-up word. And all of this is true. However, it doesn’t take away from the importance and value of understanding and acting on omnichannel communication to create customer service excellence. Omni comes from … Read more

Communication Tip #1 – Honoring Vacations

By Mary Jane Copps | June 18, 2022
woman on vacation

In 1990, as the founding partner of a then-struggling communications company, getting up in the morning was tough going. In April of that year, with what seemed like no warning, several economic forces came together and sparked a two-year-long recession. Both provincial and federal debts were at an … Read more

Phone Coach Tip #2 – Sent Versus Received

By Mary Jane Copps | June 4, 2022
woman talking on the phone

Sometimes people are surprised to learn that as “The Phone Lady”, I include skills for both email and text in my webinars. The focus of my work, my passion if you will, is clear communication. This includes the words we write – and send – electronically. Recently, I … Read more

Customer Service Tip #1 – Get Over Yourself and Use This Phrase!

By Mary Jane Copps | May 22, 2022
upset man on the phone

The combination of the pandemic and our current economic climate has definitely increased stress levels. For many businesses, this means an increase in emotional conversations with customers. My webinars on the skills for managing and de-escalating big emotions on the phone, by email and in person, are in … Read more

Phone Coach Tip #1 – Use Your Voice

By Mary Jane Copps | May 7, 2022

This spring has been busy. Steady demand for business communication skills has found me clicking from webinar to webinar, delivering 30-minute, one-hour and sometimes half-day sessions on both sales and customer service. In addition, I’ve enjoyed enlightening, inspiring and productive hours as a coach to both loyal teams … Read more

How Are You Selling?

By Mary Jane Copps | April 23, 2022
woman and man talking

One of the biggest privileges I have as The Phone Lady is listening to my clients’ conversations. It’s amazing to be trusted with such an intimate task. This allows me to fully customize my training and coaching, and supports my ability to produce desired results quickly. It also … Read more

Humility: The Foundation of Storyfinding

By Mary Jane Copps | April 9, 2022

When I sat down in September 2021 and planned out how I would write about and share the skills of storyfinding, humility wasn’t even on the list. I added it about six weeks ago and, much to my disappointment, I can’t remember what inspired this addition – at … Read more

The Value of Humility

By Mary Jane Copps | April 2, 2022
business introductions

Years ago at a holiday gathering, an existing client introduced me to the CEO of a fast-growing national company. The beginning of the introduction was the standard, “I’d like you to meet Mary Jane who, etc. etc.” But then he ended the introduction with a statement that surprised … Read more

Exploring Expectations

By Mary Jane Copps | March 25, 2022

Creating excellence demands that we explore expectations – our own and those of our prospects, clients and customers. We come to every conversation and meeting with some level of expectation. Recognizing this – and setting these aside – is a life-long, necessary practice. Without this ability, our expectations … Read more

Exposing Every Expectation

By Mary Jane Copps | March 20, 2022
business lunch

Expectations are ever-present. From the moment we begin each day, we bring our own expectations to each experience and task. Even as I write this, I am influenced by my expectation that it will be completed within the hour. Our prospects and clients also have expectations. Influenced by … Read more

Tales About Trust

By Mary Jane Copps | March 13, 2022

Inspiring the trust of others is not a small task. It’s something quite … monumental, that moment when another human being gifts you their trust. Trust is essential to the successful growth and longevity of our businesses and yet most of us don’t give this much thought or … Read more

The When and How of Trust

By Mary Jane Copps | March 6, 2022
business women talking

Over a decade ago, one of Canada’s largest healthcare companies approached me to design and deliver a half-day workshop at its annual conference. I created a proposal, participated in several conference calls with senior staff, revised my proposal and, in the end, they decided not to move ahead. … Read more

CBC Radio
Maritime Noon with Bob Murphy - On the phone-in: Mary Jane Copps has advice on making phone calls to people who are phone-averse. Listen in >
Radio New Zealand logo
How to tackle your telephone hang-ups. People with bad cases of telephone anxiety can experience nausea, increased heart rate and shortness of breath at the sound of a ringtone. Listen in...

Phone Phobia Hits the News

Phone phobia, or telephobia, has been getting a lot of attention in the news recently. See what Mary Jane has to say about it...
Margins of Error with Harry Enten
CNN's Harry Enten asks why we’re avoiding phone calls and whether we can be coached through our telephone-related nerves in this Margins of Error podcast featuring Mary Jane.
This Hour Has 22 Minutes
22 Minutes correspondent, Brandon Hackett, figures out which end is up on this thing called a telephone, with help from The Phone Lady. Watch Telephone Lessons for Millennials.