Summer School is Now in Session!

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, I was also doing some sorting and purging. In a neglected corner of my desk, I discovered a collection of hand-written notes from students with their questions about phone communication. While I’ve answered all these in various workshops and webinars, I’ve been meaning to share them here. Hence … the idea of summer school.

Between now and September,  I’ll answer questions and share skills that cover a wide variety of communication topics. In addition, I expect we’ll hear from Tegan Samija about her experiences as she begins her sales career.

So … summer school’s now in session. Here are the first three lessons. 

Q1: How do you effectively sell yourself with just your voice, no physical presence?

One of the aspects of the phone I’ve always appreciated is something that makes many people nervous – there’s no body language. While I appreciate the value of the information delivered by a raised eyebrow or a nervous laugh, when we focus only on the sound of someone’s voice, we can “hear” that same information … and more. Our communication skills are heightened when we only focus on one data source.

Our voices contain all our emotions and reactions. They reveal when we are stressed, excited, curious, hesitant, bored, puzzled, etc. Just as a singer uses their voice to deliver a sad, joyful or inspirational song, so our voices tell others about our thoughts and feelings.

In sales, customer service and job interviews, you want to sound confident in your product/service/abilities. You want to speak clearly and enunciate your words. Your energy and enthusiasm should be evident in your tone. You also want to be curious. In sales, you want to learn as much as possible about a prospect so you can provide them with the best value. In customer service, you want to make sure you’ve addressed every question/concern. On a job interview, expressing your interest in the company, and the people interviewing you illustrates your desire to learn and your enthusiasm for the available position.

Knowing how our voice sounds to others is essential. Our voices are one of our most valuable communication tools. To use them to their full advantage, we need to listen to recordings of our voice and work to improve our pacing, enunciation and language.

Q2: Should a phone call always be brief?

The short answer is “no”. In business, longer calls should be agreed upon ahead of time, the same as you would book a 20 or 30-minute meeting, for example. Respecting people’s time is an essential ingredient in building trust and creating long-standing relationships so phone calls should have a focus and an outcome, and in many cases, this means they will be brief.

Q3: Should I have notes ready for a phone interview or just go with the flow?

For most business calls, whether in sales, customer service or a job interview, preparation is essential. And this does include having notes ready. Researching a company’s website, viewing and perhaps connecting with individuals on LinkedIn, looking at a customer’s file … all of these activities will make a phone conversation more effective and efficient. At the same time, we must always be ready to “go with the flow”. All conversations, whether on the phone, in person or on video, can include an unexpected question or comment. While this puts us in the position of improvising, our success in these moments is supported by how well we’ve prepared beforehand.

Happy Summer, everyone! Don’t hesitate to send me a question you’d like included in this year’s “Summer School”.


Closing a sale is the natural outcome of inspiring great conversations and listening intently to our potential customers.

This natural approach still involves a process – a plan that moves potential customers through a journey of discovery with you. So ... what's your process? And am I the right sales coach for you? Let's find out.

2 thoughts on “Summer School is Now in Session!”

  1. Never thought I’d say this…but I’m excited for summer school! I look forward to writing my next update soon – I’ve got lots to share.


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What's The Phone Lady doing?


  • Remote learning experiences + one-on-one coaching for women entrepreneurs (More info about this three-year program here.)
  • Team and individual coaching with a national moving company to refine their sales process
  • Remote half-day training for provincial tourism representatives
  • Remote seven-part sales training program for US-based SaaS
  • Remote webinar on accounts receivable communication for industrial-services company
  • Remote webinar on validation to college students in entrepreneur program
  • In-person workshop on job search skills for women in the trades
  • Remote half-day webinar on written correspondence to customers

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