The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

inspire conversation

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

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

What Do We Undervalue?

By Mary Jane Copps | February 25, 2024

Following through on an idea, especially one that involves using unfamiliar skills or putting ourselves in the spotlight, is a tremendous challenge. The possibilities of failure, appearing foolish or wasting one’s time all conspire to create doubt and, perhaps, a bit of procrastination. I’m well acquainted with this … Read more

The Solution is in Your Pocket

By Mary Jane Copps | January 28, 2024
mobile phone in pants pocket

When listening to or reading the news, I’m often overcome by a feeling of helplessness. So many things happening, locally and internationally, are tragic. My brain spins around, grappling for something I can do to make a difference, to make things better. And while I have yet to … Read more

Is This My #1 Conversation Skill?

By Mary Jane Copps | December 9, 2023

In less than six weeks “The Phone Lady” will be 18 years old. For this, I am both amazed and constantly grateful. In the beginning, the work was all about sales, working with teams and individuals to enhance their phone skills and confidence. Over the years, this expanded … Read more

Adventures in Sales: Reaching an Important Milestone

By Tegan Samija | November 26, 2023
woman at desk on video call with man

In my previous update on adventures in sales, I shared that I was having lots of positive first conversations with prospects, but was struggling to book follow-up calls for my team. Today I’m excited to share that I’ve now successfully booked my first follow-up calls! These secondary conversations have … Read more

Have You Been “Bulldozed” Lately?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 11, 2023
man talking on phone while consulting laptop and standing next to a bulldozer

Since 2020 the requests I’ve received for customer service training have grown by over 50%. Why? The main reason is the same challenge that’s impacting most industries – too few people with the necessary skills to satisfy customer demand. When creating training experiences for these teams, I approach … Read more

Adventures in Sales #4: Even When You’re “Weirdly Lucky” There’s More to Learn

By Tegan Samija | October 13, 2023
woman talking on the phone while looking at computer screen

This week I’m just over four months into my new sales role and it’s been quite an exciting journey. Of course, not without some bumps along the way! A quick refresher for anyone new to my adventures in sales – I started making my first calls in July … Read more

10 Words To Change How You Think About Sales

By Mary Jane Copps | September 30, 2023
woman talking on the phone while looking at her tablet

“So well said! That just blew my mind…” This appeared in Chat recently while delivering the final webinar in my seven-part proactive calling series. It definitely caught me off guard. I get a lot of positive reactions to the skills I share but I think this was the … 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 Importance of Pause

By Mary Jane Copps | December 18, 2022
woman having a phone conversation

It was January 2006 when I officially launched “The Phone Lady” brand. At that time, about 80% of my work was with sales teams, giving them the skills and confidence to pick up the phone and inspire great conversations. This work soon began to include customer service skills, … Read more

Wish I’d Said That!

By Mary Jane Copps | October 22, 2022
woman listening on phone call

From time to time, my inbox has been like my kitchen junk drawer. You know what I mean – a destination for things I’m sure I’ll need at some point. Yet, also like that drawer, I rarely take the time to investigate the items I’ve thoughtfully saved. Not … Read more

What Alzheimer’s Has Taught Me About Listening

By Mary Jane Copps | October 8, 2022
dinner party

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. – Bryant Mcgill About eight years ago my husband, David, began to show signs of early onset Alzheimer’s. In 2017 we received the formal diagnosis. Throughout this time our lives have … Read more

Humility: The Foundation of Storyfinding

By Mary Jane Copps | April 9, 2022

When I sat down in September 2021 and planned out how I would write about and share the skills of storyfinding, humility wasn’t even on the list. I added it about six weeks ago and, much to my disappointment, I can’t remember what inspired this addition – at … Read more

The Value of Humility

By Mary Jane Copps | April 2, 2022
business introductions

Years ago at a holiday gathering, an existing client introduced me to the CEO of a fast-growing national company. The beginning of the introduction was the standard, “I’d like you to meet Mary Jane who, etc. etc.” But then he ended the introduction with a statement that surprised … Read more

Exploring Expectations

By Mary Jane Copps | March 25, 2022

Creating excellence demands that we explore expectations – our own and those of our prospects, clients and customers. We come to every conversation and meeting with some level of expectation. Recognizing this – and setting these aside – is a life-long, necessary practice. Without this ability, our expectations … Read more

The When and How of Trust

By Mary Jane Copps | March 6, 2022
business women talking

Over a decade ago, one of Canada’s largest healthcare companies approached me to design and deliver a half-day workshop at its annual conference. I created a proposal, participated in several conference calls with senior staff, revised my proposal and, in the end, they decided not to move ahead. … Read more

My Favorite Listening Practice

By Mary Jane Copps | February 26, 2022
podcasting

Listening is a skill that demands life-long attention. We never reach perfection … but we can continually improve and expand our abilities. How do I work on my listening skills? I give my full attention to radio and podcast hosts and I learn from: The depth of their … 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

Honor Your Intuition + A Well-Kept Secret

By Mary Jane Copps | February 13, 2022

All of us have access to intuition – flashes of insight or wisdom we often ignore because they seem to contradict what we most rely on – our intellectual, emotional and creative skills. Acknowledging, listening and acting on our intuition is uncomfortable. It can even seem foolish. Yet … 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

Park Your Intent and Find the Story

By Mary Jane Copps | January 30, 2022

Recognizing and working with the dual nature of intent is vital for us to become great storyfinders – and inspire amazing conversations. Yes, we do need to prepare and have an intention, goal, purpose for our business conversations. When speaking with both customers/clients and prospects, we want to … 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

How to Ditch Your Assumptions

By Mary Jane Copps | January 8, 2022
woman at desk talking on the phone

“You don’t know what you don’t know.” Donald Rumsfeld The biggest threat to storyfinding – uncovering the true challenge, desire and/or “why” of our prospects and clients – is assumptions. Assumptions are tricky creatures. The word assumption comes to us from the 1590s and means “to suppose, to … Read more

Improvise to Create Unique Experiences

By Mary Jane Copps | January 2, 2022

As I write this I remain uplifted and energized by many of the conversations I enjoyed during the less-hectic holiday season. Each one was unique; each one filled with laughter, storytelling, hopes and challenges. None of them were planned. They each blossomed in the moments of two people … 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

Being Vulnerable in Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | December 12, 2021

Did you know that you are already vulnerable in most of your personal conversations? It’s definitely possible you’ve never noticed. However, the memorable, exciting and in-depth conversations you’ve had with family, friends and colleagues did require you to be vulnerable. Great business conversations also require vulnerability. It is … 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

How to “Own Your Tone”

By Mary Jane Copps | November 28, 2021

Most of us completely ignore the tone of our voice. Of course, we realize when our anger, or sarcasm, or impatience has had an impact on others. But on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis, we remain ignorant about how our tone is impacting our conversations. And the startling truth … 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.