The Phone Lady's Blog

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Voicemail Messages Made Easy

By Mary Jane Copps | April 27, 2024
woman talking on the phone

Recently, the number of incoming calls I’m receiving has increased. These are not necessarily scam callers. The majority are coming from local numbers during business hours. Yet no one is leaving a message. This is driving me crazy! Being “The Phone Lady”, I do make it a priority … 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

One Simple Skill To Improve Every Outbound Call

By Mary Jane Copps | September 9, 2023
business man talking on the phone

In the summer before my last year of high school, I landed my first job that involved answering a telephone. It was in the administrative offices of an iron ore mine in Northern Ontario. This was 48 years ago, in 1975. It was a time when there were … 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

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

Opportunity Needs You to Get Gritty

By Mary Jane Copps | April 15, 2023
definition of grit

Throughout my 17 years as The Phone Lady, I’ve preached the value of consistent follow up. We do the work of listening to our clients and creating proposals or quotes in a timely manner. We also need to do the work of learning from their feedback and hearing … Read more

8 Ways to Practice Profound Listening

By Mary Jane Copps | February 19, 2022
man listening on video

“Years ago, I worked for an amazing HR Director who always seemed to hear what I wasn’t saying. She truly taught me about the power of listening.” – Leighann Joseph This message was sent to me late last year by Leighann Joseph of Living Loud Coaching, and I … Read more

Tap Into Your Intuition

By Mary Jane Copps | February 5, 2022
woman waiting for elevator

In the early ’80s, when Toronto’s Spadina Avenue was still home to some of the very best Jewish delicatessens in the country, I entered the lobby of a heritage building. I was there to pick up the final prints from a friend’s recent photo shoot. While it wasn’t … Read more

You Can – and Must – Improvise

By Mary Jane Copps | December 18, 2021
2 coffee cups on porch

As our computers and telephones have merged and landed in our hands instead of on a desk, an unintended consequence has surfaced. We are tapping and scrolling and writing and reading more than we are talking. This means there’s a lot of “communication” happening but it doesn’t necessarily … Read more

Acknowledging Nuance in our Communication

By Mary Jane Copps | November 7, 2021
woman yawning

Nuance is such an elegant, fancy word. It conjures up images of ballet and opera, poetry and classical music. And we might associate it with the work of great actors too, like Elizabeth Moss or Meryl Streep. Nuance is certainly connected with all these things. And it plays … Read more

Ignite Your Curiosity

By Mary Jane Copps | October 3, 2021

Storyfinding allows us to create communication and service excellence with both prospects and customers. The first element is curiosity, which is a HUGE topic. This video includes more information about curiosity, as well as examples of how it can be used … or not. Enjoy the video and … Read more

Curiosity Did Not “Kill The Cat”!

By Mary Jane Copps | September 26, 2021
woman on video call

“Curiosity is the engine of achievement.” Sir Ken Robinson Allowing curiosity to guide our conversations is the first step of storyfinding. With both prospects and customers, curiosity helps us clarify and deliver on expectations, reveal additional ways to serve and work together, and continually build on the all-important … Read more

Discover Storyfinding + Examples

By Mary Jane Copps | September 19, 2021

The comparison between storytelling and storyfinding created feedback and excitement here on this blog, and also on social media and directly via email. Thanks! In my 16 years teaching communication skills, I’ve always focused on the importance of asking great questions. And on constantly improving one’s ability to … Read more

Storytelling vs Storyfinding

By Mary Jane Copps | September 12, 2021

Circa 1963: I’m sent to bed early, where I strain my ears to catch every sound, word and movement of my uncles and dad in the living room below. There is the rattle of ice and the splash of rye or rum, the click of lighters for both … Read more

Top Three Sales Skills and How To Practice Them

By Mary Jane Copps | April 24, 2021
woman talking on the phone

How do we become really good at something? Whether it is baking or golf or Minecraft, we all improve our skills by doing, by practicing. The same is true of sales. And we don’t need a special time or place to practice our sales skills. We can do … Read more

Strengthen Your Sales Process: Your Discovery Call

By Mary Jane Copps | February 13, 2021
man talking on the phone

Recently a dear friend and colleague approached me looking for some sales advice. She was concerned about a potential client’s reaction – or lack of reaction – to a proposal she’d sent. She believed it was exactly what the potential client wanted, and needed. So why hadn’t an … Read more

Are You Talking Too Much?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 15, 2020

“Our job isn’t to tell customers everything all at once. It’s to make them curious to learn more.” – Bernadette Jiwa It isn’t easy to admit we talk too much. Sometimes we are unaware this is our challenge. Perhaps we’ve been taught, or assumed, that providing prospects and … Read more

4 Ways to Help Others Hear You

By Mary Jane Copps | October 31, 2020
man listening

“Communication is not saying something; communication is being heard.” – Frances Hesselbein We’ve all had the experience of speaking to someone and, much to our surprise and/or frustration, they don’t hear us at all. Even in a quiet setting, when we’ve chosen our words carefully, they seem to … Read more

Practical Advice for 4 Common Communication Challenges

By Mary Jane Copps | October 17, 2020

One of the things I love about my work is its diversity. This past week I delivered webinars to global, North American, national and local audiences. Fun, right? What stood out for me was the similarity in the feedback on all of these presentations. The same word was … Read more

One Word or Two?

By Mary Jane Copps | October 10, 2020
woman buying coffee

In Canada this is Thanksgiving weekend, a  holiday also celebrated by our US neighbours (in just over 6 weeks) as well as in Brazil, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Liberia, Leiden in South Holland, Norfolk Island and Puerto Rico. It stems from a tradition of celebrating and giving thanks for … Read more

What’s In A Name? Everything!

By Mary Jane Copps | September 19, 2020
nametags

It’s happened to all of us. We’ve called somewhere, perhaps a customer service centre, or a government department, or a company we are thinking about hiring. A person answers, or we reach their voicemail, and their name is so muffled, said so quickly, that we have no idea … Read more

Powerful Words: The Reason For My Call

By Mary Jane Copps | September 10, 2020
woman making business phone call

One of the most important “tricks” to effective telephone communication lies in acknowledging this simple fact: every phone call is an interruption. While this was true when I began my career on the phone (1987), people still had “space” in their day. They could, and would, find time … Read more

What Are Your Great Questions?

By Mary Jane Copps | August 21, 2020
man and woman talking

Interesting and valuable conversations are often easily created with family, friends and colleagues. Can we create this same level of communication with prospects and clients? How do we inspire conversations that build trust and relationships, and deliver value to everyone? The answer is in the questions. Great conversations … Read more

Lack of Confidence = Miscommunication

By Mary Jane Copps | August 16, 2020
woman talking on the phone

“Communication is not saying something. Communication is being heard.” – Frances Hesselbein – Many of you already know my “just” story.  At the age of 28, building my first business and making outbound calls across the country, I was shocked to discover that turning a great conversation into … Read more

Identifying Ideal Clients – A Case Study

By Mary Jane Copps | June 27, 2020
woman latking on the phone

One of the biggest challenges for small business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers and independent service providers is … creating consistent revenue. Accomplishing this requires making “business development” a consistent priority. But what does this involve? What are the actions we need to take each day or week to ensure … Read more

What’s Best When: Phone or Video Conversation?

By Mary Jane Copps | June 20, 2020
WOMAN ON VIDEO CALL

My initial reaction to the notion that phone calls would one day include cameras is very clear in my mind. I remember exactly where I was when someone shared this news item with me. It was sometime in the mid-’90s. I was standing outside my office in our … Read more

How Will Allison Inspire Conversation? Case Study Part II

By Mary Jane Copps | June 6, 2020
woman speaking on the phone

Several weeks ago Allison Smith of Dandelion Digital approached me with this question: Do you have resources on how to do this diligent research of ideal prospects? Since I did not have a downloadable resource to share with her (yes, this is now on the “to do” list), I … Read more

Researching Ideal Prospects: A Case Study

By Mary Jane Copps | May 23, 2020
woman working at desk

Last week Allison Smith read my post very carefully and responded with this question: Do you have resources on how to do this diligent research of ideal prospects? So … she’s become our first case study on how to reach your ideal target market. Allison owns Dandelion Digital, providing companies … Read more

Own Your Distractions

By Mary Jane Copps | May 9, 2020
dog at desk

Twenty-eight years ago, on May 15, my then business partner gave birth to her first child. We were in our fourth year of growing our company and while we did manage to organize a (sort of) maternity leave for her, once that time was up, that wonderful baby … Read more

4 Reasons to Connect with Clients and Ideal Prospects … Now!

By Mary Jane Copps | May 3, 2020
man talking on the phone

In mid-January, while doing errands early on a Saturday morning, I listened to a radio interview with a family living in lockdown in Wuhan, China. While they were well organized and optimistic, the strain was clear in their voices. At the time, I was foolish enough to think … 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.