The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

client communication

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

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

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

Is This “Just” Another Blog Post?

By Mary Jane Copps | August 13, 2023
man talking on the phone while looking at laptop screen

Long-standing clients are the best gift I receive from being The Phone Lady. Earlier this month I had the privilege of delivering a workshop with an organization that’s trusted me for more than a decade. So fun! As I was wrapping up the customer-service-focused afternoon, the supervising staff … 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

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

The Paradox of “Intent”

By Mary Jane Copps | January 22, 2022
woman driving

In our quest to excel at storyfinding – uncovering what our prospects and clients truly want and need through conversation – we need to know that sabotage lurks in our intent. While it is essential to prepare for our conversations, and to know the outcome we seek, keeping … Read more

Assumptions: My Most Embarrassing Story

By Mary Jane Copps | January 16, 2022

Many years ago, while visiting a dear friend in Toronto, we decided to walk past a house in Kensington Market we had once owned and lived in together. A mom was working in the front garden with her young son nearby and we had a conversation. When she … Read more

Unleash Your Vulnerability

By Mary Jane Copps | December 4, 2021
man talkng on phone in office

Several years ago, while working with a very enthusiastic group of salespeople in Toronto, something totally unexpected happened. We were all together in a beautiful classroom space in the city’s financial district. All the latest technology was available. The coordinator was charming and funny, the food throughout the … 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

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 Sales Skill #4 … and How to Practice It

By Mary Jane Copps | May 22, 2021
woman working on laptop

When it comes to things I’ve done to build my business, I’ve certainly spent a lot of time doing the wrong things. Some of them have been things that are perfect for other businesses but not right for me. Building online courses is top of mind. There are … Read more

Email Assumptions Revealed by Persistent Follow-up

By Mary Jane Copps | January 17, 2021
woman using laptop

As 2020 ended and 2021 began I found myself in the midst of an unusual communication challenge. In mid-November, the head of a medical team filled out my website Assessment Form, looking for information on phone skills for front desk staff. Through a series of emails and a … Read more

What Are Your Missed Opportunities?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 21, 2020
conversation over coffee

Earlier this week I spent the morning with a group of brand new, energetic business owners. In one of the exercises we did together, they each estimated the average annual worth of their average customer. This is not an easy number to figure out when you’ve only been … 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

Are We Excluding By Not Including?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 26, 2020
woman using cell phone

A few years ago I sat with two trusted colleagues and made numerous decisions about my company’s social media and marketing strategy. There were a few things that got added to the activities already in play. One of them, even though I was hesitant, was adding a company … 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

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

A Tale of Two Notes

By Mary Jane Copps | April 25, 2020
putting cards in the mailbox

It has been a difficult week here in Nova Scotia. While all of us were continuing to hang on to the roller coaster that is COVID-19, last Sunday morning news began to surface of unimaginable gun violence in our small towns and villages. Many of us have simply … Read more

Ask … and Tell!

By Mary Jane Copps | March 7, 2020
woman working on laptop

Years ago, needing a birthday card for a dear friend, I walked into a greeting card store believing my errand would only take 10 to 15 minutes. After 40 minutes, I purchased a card that I felt wasn’t quite perfect enough, along with a few cards I hadn’t … Read more

#1 Way to Increase Your Phone Conversations with Prospects and Customers in 2020

By Mary Jane Copps | January 25, 2020
reviewing calendar appointments

“The only constant in life is change.” -Heraclitus (500 BC Greek philosopher) Change is not something I thrive on. In fact, those who know me best might say that I often strive to avoid it. But I think it’s more accurate to say that I’m both cautious and … Read more

It’s Time To Be “Camera Ready”

By Mary Jane Copps | November 3, 2019
laptop on desk

There’s a vague image in my mind of standing in the middle of our high-ceilinged, converted-industrial-space office at Adelaide and Spadina in Toronto listening to a news story about future technologies. I’m guessing this was the mid-90s and the newscaster was saying that soon all our phones would … Read more

Please … Remind Me!

By Mary Jane Copps | June 23, 2019

Many of us worry about whether we are “pestering” our prospects and clients. They agree to a follow-up conversation but when should we call? And how often? Two recent events provided me with answers to these questions and they may eliminate these concerns for you forever. Working with … 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 You Ignoring Your Receptionist?

By Mary Jane Copps | March 30, 2019
receptionist

Sometimes, on the most hectic of days, we find the time to do that something extra that needs to get done, right? I had one of those days a few weeks ago and as I was rushing about to make sure I had everything I needed for meetings … Read more

Options vs Opinions

By Mary Jane Copps | January 13, 2019
woman in front of laptop

As business owners, salespeople and customer service reps, our job is to create the clearest communication possible. Yet we often confuse, and sometimes alienate, clients and prospects when we present their options tangled up with our opinions. How do options and opinions get tangled up together? How can … Read more

What’s the Value of Loyalty?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 14, 2018

In 1988 my oldest stepdaughter was attending university, paying rent, working part-time and pursuing a singing career. Money was tight, to say the least, and it was definitely time for her to have her first credit card. My advice? The same card I was using which, at the … Read more

“Send” Does Not Mean “Received”

By Mary Jane Copps | August 11, 2018

We have very high expectations of email … and text. We believe that once we hit “send”, our words have been received, read and acted upon. But this is not always true. To create excellent communication – and avoid some uncomfortable situations – we need to consider doubling … 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.