The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

conversation skills

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

“I’m Absolutely Loving This Conversation …”

By Mary Jane Copps | April 22, 2018

Conversation is how we continually increase our sales, retain our customers and reveal opportunities. It is the key to exceeding expectations and creating consistent business growth, yet many of us have developed the habit of avoiding conversation. We default to text communication where we can edit our words, … Read more

5 Signs You’re Not Listening

By Mary Jane Copps | April 1, 2018
5 Signs You're Not Listening

It was Sunday morning and I was enjoying a radio interview – a seasoned political journalist speaking with a high-profile guest. The topic interested me; I wanted to understand the guest’s thoughts and opinions. Unfortunately, the journalist stopped listening, and the conversation tumbled along without energy or the … Read more

Have You Lost Your Curiosity?

By Mary Jane Copps | March 25, 2018

One of the items on my wish list has been to talk to high school students about phone skills, and my wish came true this past week. I met with seventeen Grade 10 students at South Colchester Academy. It occurred to me that these young people could teach … Read more

A Lesson From The Front Row

By Mary Jane Copps | March 11, 2018

She was one of the last arrivals to the workshop and ended up sitting in the front row. In the crowded space, I could almost reach out and touch her. For 90 minutes I was aware of her furrowed brow and how, when others laughed at my jokes, … Read more

Two Words That Don’t Belong Together

By Mary Jane Copps | November 4, 2017

Recently stuck in Halifax traffic, I was able to give my full attention to a radio interview. What I heard was a clear reminder of two words that, when put together, clearly announce our bias and can sound extremely confrontational. What are these two words and what might … Read more

Silence on the Phone Doesn’t Have To Be Awkward

By Mary Jane Copps | October 14, 2017

“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them.”  Debussy In a workshop this past week Melissa of House of Auto Details wanted to know more about dealing with silence on the phone. It can be a challenge for many of us, yet it is an essential … Read more

How Do You Say Goodbye?

By Mary Jane Copps | October 8, 2017

At a recent workshop, I was asked for advice on a challenge I’ve never encountered. While I certainly have some thoughts and suggestions, I’ve decided to share this challenge with you. Have you also experienced this challenge? Please share your ideas and feedback in the comments section below. … Read more

The $11.8 Million Phone Call

By Mary Jane Copps | September 9, 2017

On August 31, Edmonton’s MacEwan University revealed it had sent payments for long-time vendor Clark Builders to a bogus bank account in Montreal. The payments, later transferred to a Hong Kong bank, totalled $11.8 million. How does this happen and why did no one pick up the phone?  … Read more

Taking A Road Trip … On The Phone

By Mary Jane Copps | August 13, 2017

It’s possible for any of us to hang up at the end of a phone call and realize we allowed the conversation to get totally off track and we’ve ended up without the information we need. Reluctantly, we call back … or send a quick email. How can … Read more

Case Study: Lessons from a Cold Call to The Phone Lady

By Mary Jane Copps | July 23, 2017

One thing I tell everyone: “If you want to get better on the phone, use the phone more often and learn from each conversation.” How did that cold call make you feel? What were your reactions during that customer service experience? There’s something to be learned from every interaction, … Read more

A Tale of 3 Assumptions

By Mary Jane Copps | July 16, 2017

Assumptions are – and always have been – vital to our survival. Since ancient times we have made assumptions that have kept us alive, while hunting for food, exploring new territories  … and building businesses. But they can also be harmful, especially to our businesses and especially when … Read more

5 Powerful Phrases You Need To Use More Often

By Mary Jane Copps | April 30, 2017
woman video

  In the past two weeks, I’ve made some big mistakes. If I was the only one affected by these errors, I could quietly and humbly accept them as necessary reminders that I’m far from perfect and, hopefully, learn a lesson or two. But my clients were impacted (yikes!). In … Read more

5 Simple Steps To An Excellent Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | April 9, 2017

Communicating effectively on the phone is a skill and, as with any skill, improvement comes with practice and honest critique. What’s great about the phone is you can be your own best coach by recording a few of your calls, listening carefully, and making changes based on what … Read more

The #1 Reason We Don’t Listen

By Mary Jane Copps | September 20, 2015

“People hearing without listening.” Simon & Garfunkel, The Sound of Silence This is something we all do – every day. We hear the people around us speaking – family members, co-workers, customers, prospects – but we don’t really listen to what they are saying. Why do we do … Read more

3 Small Words That Inspire Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | January 11, 2015
conversation

  One of the most important skills needed for excellent phone communication is the ability to inspire conversation. Whether you are on the phone with a client, prospect or your sister who lives in Australia, you want to create a flow of thoughts, ideas and information. “If we … Read more

One Small Word

By Mary Jane Copps | August 23, 2009
man speaking on phone

When I started my first company, at the tender and overly self-confident age of 28, one small word got in the way of my increasing revenue consistently. That word was “just”. I used it in my telephone conversations, like most people do, to be polite, to imply I … 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.