The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

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Eliminate This Word to Improve Every Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | May 26, 2024
woman and man having a work conversation while referring to a laptop on the table between them

One of my full-time obsessions is improving my listening and conversation skills. I enjoy a variety of podcasts and radio broadcasts as a favorite way to do this. In the past year or so, I’ve heard one specific word far too often. Why? Because it’s a word that: … Read more

Let’s Get Comfortable with Phone Conversations

By Mary Jane Copps | April 6, 2024
man talking on the phone

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the word ‘comfortable’. Over 10% of the CEOs and senior executives who responded to the 2024 Report of Phone Communication Trends included this word in their comments. Here are a few examples of how the word was used: “Employees … Read more

How to Combine Phone Calls with Digital Options – Tip #1

By Mary Jane Copps | March 24, 2024
woman talking on the phone while writing

There’s a quote from a Canadian CEO who participated in my 2024 Report on Phone Communication Trends that I’m continually thinking about: “It can be confusing to understand when to call or text versus email or video calls … . People need help understanding where the phone fits … Read more

5 Revelations about Phone Conversations in Today’s Workplace

By Mary Jane Copps | March 10, 2024
woman looking at phone with a shocked look on her face

Over the past 40 days, I’ve been hard at work completing a research project that’s very appropriate for The Phone Lady. It was inspired by a quick conversation last summer with a trusted colleague. We met on our neighbourhood trail in the early morning. Initially, he whizzed by … Read more

What Do We Undervalue?

By Mary Jane Copps | February 25, 2024

Following through on an idea, especially one that involves using unfamiliar skills or putting ourselves in the spotlight, is a tremendous challenge. The possibilities of failure, appearing foolish or wasting one’s time all conspire to create doubt and, perhaps, a bit of procrastination. I’m well acquainted with this … Read more

8 Tips for Accounts Receivable

By Mary Jane Copps | February 11, 2024
woman talking on the phone

I’m currently spending time with an extremely diligent coaching student. Having never received any formal sales training, she reacts to new information and skills by using them immediately. This is a lot of fun. Each week she arrives with great success stories and questions to ask. And she’s … Read more

2 “Timely” Tips that Increase Revenue

By Mary Jane Copps | January 13, 2024
woman at desk looking at watch

This first week of January found me in a high-energy evening webinar attended by innovators worldwide. Their work includes seeking licensing agreements for their designs and creations. They wanted to learn more about the art and process of following up. Their reactions to my presentation reminded me that … Read more

Have You Been “Bulldozed” Lately?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 11, 2023
man talking on phone while consulting laptop and standing next to a bulldozer

Since 2020 the requests I’ve received for customer service training have grown by over 50%. Why? The main reason is the same challenge that’s impacting most industries – too few people with the necessary skills to satisfy customer demand. When creating training experiences for these teams, I approach … Read more

How Are You Collaborating?

By Mary Jane Copps | October 28, 2023
business people meeting

This past week the word ‘collaboration’ has been on my mind. It applies to many of the challenges our world is facing today. Where I live, the provincial and municipal governments, which should be vibrant examples of partnership, are tragically miscommunicating about one of our most urgent problems … Read more

Creating a Great Impression, Miscommunication & Getting Answers

By Mary Jane Copps | July 9, 2023
young man talking on the phone

Whether it’s part of your work in sales or customer service, or phone conversations are part of your job search strategy, you want to continually practice the skills for creating a great impression. You also want to know ways to deal with a wide variety of communication hazards, … Read more

Summer School is Now in Session!

By Mary Jane Copps | June 23, 2023
woman using cell phone

Summer officially started this past Wednesday. There are very few places in the world as delightful as Atlantic Canada in the summer and I’m aiming to take full advantage. As I was thinking about the time I will spend with family and friends over the next two months, … Read more

The Case for Over-Communicating

By Mary Jane Copps | May 28, 2023

Since March 30 I’ve been constantly thinking about an email I received from my dear friend and colleague, Natasha Marchewka. Natasha is definitely one of life’s constant learners and she’ll often send me things she’s discovered. In this case, it was a quote from James Clear, author of … Read more

The Case of the Disappearing Workshop

By Mary Jane Copps | March 26, 2023

This past week contained a disappointment – for myself and others. What occurred was surprising and frustrating. Like a tightened knot I was convinced I could untie, I kept revisiting the situation, obsessing. This is always a sign that there’s a lesson to be learned. Uncovering it has … 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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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.