The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

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Noticing Nuance in Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | November 14, 2021

Nuance is definitely one of the most difficult skills of storyfinding. It requires us to be completely present in our conversations and intently listening, not only to words and sentences but to everything around those words and sentences. Next, we have to respond to what we hear, and … 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

The Impact of Empathy

By Mary Jane Copps | October 31, 2021

Empathy is not only the champion of storyfinding but also the no-fail creator of trust, loyalty and clear communication. Why? Because recognizing and honouring the emotional content of any situation allows us to provide solutions that go far beyond the surface problems or challenges. Empathy is not about … Read more

The Logic of Employing Empathy

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

The details we can uncover about an individual or an organization through a website, a Google search or reviewing an internal file are all extremely valuable and they do support our ability to be a storyfinder. But often, they are only the tip of the iceberg. The deeper … 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

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

Elevate Your Customer Service: Effective and Efficient Conversations

By Mary Jane Copps | March 27, 2021
man planning a phone call

It happens to all of us. We finish a conversation with a client and feel, well, unaccomplished. Perhaps the next steps aren’t clearly agreed upon. Or important items are completely forgotten and another conversation needs to be booked. It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a very … 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

Show Your Heart … or Be Shown the Door!

By Mary Jane Copps | April 4, 2020
Westin Hotel, Halifax

It’s hard to take in that the world … the entire world … is sharing one event. While each country, culture, region is experiencing COVID-19 differently, and each individual is having unique reactions and responses, we are all being impacted by this pandemic at the same time. So, … Read more

Holiday Joy!

By Mary Jane Copps | December 22, 2019
Christmas tree and old phone

While it’s certainly exciting to find presents under a tree, there are hundreds of other ways to embrace the joy of this season. It will come as no surprise that one of mine includes phone conversations, while the other … well … it can be phone-related too. One … Read more

To Listen and Learn … Press Mute

By Mary Jane Copps | October 5, 2019
phone conversation in office

It doesn’t seem to matter how many projects I do as The Phone Lady, I still get incredibly excited when I’m on a discovery call with a new client. As they start sharing their challenges with me, my brain shifts into high gear and I’m quickly bursting with … Read more

A Tale of Two Texts

By Mary Jane Copps | August 11, 2019

I’ve been a bit scattered this summer. While disciplined at keeping and working with a detailed to-do list, a few things have slipped away from me. If I had to choose the one that made me the most uncomfortable, I think it’s this … I missed/forgot/neglected my twin … Read more

Mind The Gap!

By Mary Jane Copps | July 14, 2019
explaining a concept

While sitting in an audience listening to musician, artist and innovator will.i.am at Dreamforce 2016, I was pushed into a new reality. He described what motivates some of his philanthropy. In short, he recognized that children from schools with minimal funding and, therefore, minimal equipment and innovation, would … Read more

The #1 Reason To Improve Your Listening Skills

By Mary Jane Copps | May 26, 2019
listening

Listening to audiobooks is one of my favourite things to do, especially when I’m on the road to Moncton, Charlottetown, Fredericton or Saint John. I’ve had the library app, OverDrive, on my phone for years and it feels like an exciting new gift every time I use it. … Read more

Are Your Conversations on Cruise Control?

By Mary Jane Copps | May 12, 2019
woman listening on the phone

My life as The Phone Lady is incredibly varied because most of my workshops and webinars are customized to clients’ specific needs. Yet all of my clients have a similar goal: they want to create strong, excellent relationships with their clients, customers and prospects. This is accomplished by … Read more

Incivility Costs Us … Even After the Call!

By Mary Jane Copps | February 10, 2019

Sara Moginot is a customer service aficionado, a regular reader of this blog … and the author of this article. From sarcasm to bullying, incivility in the workplace reduces productivity, lowers morale and increases employee stress levels. Whether we are a victim or a witness, there’s an impact. And … Read more

Connecting with Your Compassion – 7 Easy Steps

By Mary Jane Copps | February 3, 2019
woman on phone with broken down car

After reading my post about a recent car accident and compassionate communication, Duncan Ebata of Shift! Food in Wolfville, NS, sent me this question on Instagram: “How do we structure conversations to have more compassion and still get what we need done?” Great question! How can we be both compassionate … Read more

A Dog, a Kayak and a Phone Lesson

By Mary Jane Copps | January 27, 2019

Sara Moginot is a customer service aficionado and a regular reader of this blog. She recently had a “light bulb moment” while enjoying an outdoor adventure with her dog … something that’s valuable for all of us to consider when our phone rings. What did Sara realize and how … Read more

What’s With “Talking Over”?

By Mary Jane Copps | January 5, 2019
talking on the phone

We’ve all had this happen on the phone – the other person talks over us as we start or finish a thought. Doesn’t it make you crazy? Speaking for myself … it gets under my skin very quickly. Why does talking over happen? What does it mean and … Read more

The Phone Lady’s Best Advice in 2018

By Mary Jane Copps | December 16, 2018

In the 13 years I’ve had the pleasure of being The Phone Lady, 2018 definitely delivered the most change in communication. Each shift, from encountering more silence within phone calls, to treating every phone call as a scheduled meeting, requires that we adapt and embrace new ways to … Read more

Sorry … Wrong Number

By Mary Jane Copps | November 17, 2018

My business phone rang one Saturday afternoon while I was at my desk. I quickly checked the number and, while it was local, it wasn’t one I recognized. I made the choice most of us do these days – I didn’t answer. When I eventually listened to the … Read more

At The Sound of Your Tone …

By Mary Jane Copps | October 20, 2018
woman with shopping list

While rushing about doing weekend errands last Saturday, I received an important – and tear-filled – lesson on the power of tone of voice … all while choosing between green beans or kale! What was the lesson? And why did it make me cry? I’m a bit obsessed … Read more

What I’m Reading: The Checklist Manifesto

By Mary Jane Copps | July 15, 2018

In April of this year, after doing a podcast about cold calling on SalesTuners with Jim Brown, he thanked me with a one-year subscription to ReadItForMe, which delivers book summaries specifically designed for entrepreneurs, executives and business coaches. I was very pleased; book summaries are something I’ve always … Read more

What I’m Using: Refract.ai

By Mary Jane Copps | July 7, 2018

As a tool for improving phone conversations, artificial intelligence was sitting in a distant corner of my priority list, until Krystal Hobbs introduced me to Jim Brown who interviewed me on his podcast Sales Tuners which was heard by Richard Smith of Refract.ai who called me and booked … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part VI

By Mary Jane Copps | June 16, 2018

While sitting with a small group of committed, engaged and effective salespeople enjoying a lively discussion about how to inspire conversations, someone shared: “But it’s so hard when no matter what question you ask, they give you a one-word answer.” Someone else quickly added, “Yeah, I ask lots of … 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 not behave professionally … 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 written instructions on … 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.