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The Phone Lady's Blog

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phone etiquette

Your Job Search Super Power – Step 1: What Do You Want?

By Miriam Jobin | July 21, 2019
phoning about a job listing

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”― Mark Twain As a child and adolescent, I must have had the same conversation with adults hundreds of times. You know the one: “What are you going … Read more

Phone Stories: On The Dresser in the Foyer

By Mary Jane Copps | May 19, 2019

Sara Moginot is a customer service aficionado based in Halifax and a regular reader and contributor to this blog. As a child, our family had one black rotary phone in the foyer. To reach it, you walked up the stairs to the landing, which was … Read more

In The Beginning: 5 Lessons From Recent Phone Calls

By Mary Jane Copps | June 24, 2018

Wednesday was a good day. For the first time in long while, I wasn’t rushing anywhere. I had time to focus on the three “P’s” – projects, paperwork and phone calls. And while the first two went fairly well (apparently there’s additional paperwork needed to … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part V

By Mary Jane Copps | June 9, 2018

A few weekends ago two events collided and created this post. The first was a drive across the bridge early Saturday morning to speak at a conference. Listening to the radio, I noted that the host of the program was encouraging listeners to email him … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part IV

By Mary Jane Copps | June 3, 2018

For all of us, no matter where we’ve lived, where we’ve travelled or what languages we speak, a phone call with an unfamiliar accent can be a challenge. What I discovered, when I moved from the Northern Ontario mining town of my childhood to Toronto, … 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 … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part I

By Mary Jane Copps | May 13, 2018

The past two weeks I’ve received numerous emails from followers and clients with questions about difficult conversations. From accents to constant talkers, and from disrespectful language to unfulfilled promises, some phone calls are definitely challenging. The next few posts will feature my favourite strategies. And … 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 … 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 … 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 … Read more

3 Ways You Can Impact Phone Communication

By Mary Jane Copps | June 10, 2017

Whether you want your sales team to be on the phone more often, or your clients to speak with you on the phone regularly, or your children to talk with their friends from time to time instead of texting, it all starts with you. Avoiding … Read more

Top 5 Ways to Create an Excellent ‘On Hold’ Experience

By Mary Jane Copps | April 16, 2017

The first time I put someone on hold was 40 years ago. It was a summer job in the offices of an iron ore mine in Northern Ontario and there were very specific guidelines I had to follow. The etiquette of how to put someone … Read more

A Telephone Truth

By Mary Jane Copps | February 18, 2017

It is true that every phone call is an interruption. This is not new; it has been the case since Alexander Graham Bell invented the technology. We are always doing something else when our phone rings and this makes the caller responsible for grabbing our … Read more

Who’s On Your “Hot List”?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 24, 2016

Whether you are an entrepreneur building your business or a salesperson working towards making (or exceeding) budget, maintaining a “hot list” is essential to success. Simply put, a hot list contains the names of prospects that you believe are going to become customers, and it … Read more

The Language of Grief

By Mary Jane Copps | September 18, 2016

At a conference in mid-August I had the priviledge of attending a presentation by Amy Florian, CEO of Corgenius. A powerful, engaging speaker she provided everyone in the audience with a new and invaluable understanding of the language of death. I’m honoured that she has … Read more

Fewer Conversations = More Sales?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 11, 2016

“Opening is the new closing.”  Anthony Iannarino When this quote appeared on my computer screen last week … well, I wasn’t sure what to do first. I recognized the truth of these five words instantly and can’t deny that I fought back a wee bit … Read more

Ready, Set, Crunch … The Numbers You Need for Year-End Success

By Mary Jane Copps | September 4, 2016

Wow … what a crazy August it’s been for The Phone Lady. I’ve had the honour of attending a conference in Iowa, working with very energetic sales and customer service teams in Toronto and travelling to all  four Atlantic provinces in four days to share phone communication … Read more

The Second Call

By Mary Jane Copps | August 21, 2016

  This week I’m honoured to introduce you to Dimitra Chronopoulos. She and I have connected through this blog, Twitter and LinkedIn and she has generously offered to share with us one of her own “phone stories”.   Are you reluctant to make a second … Read more

Show, Don’t Tell

By Mary Jane Copps | August 14, 2016

My mother’s name was Mercy Stone Goodwill. She was only thirty years old when she took sick, a boiling hot day, standing there in her back kitchen, making a Malvern pudding for her husband’s supper. A cookery book lay open on the table: “Take some … Read more

Whose Time Are You Wasting?

By Mary Jane Copps | August 7, 2016

  This summer I’ve had the honour of working with smart, dedicated, enthusiastic sales teams. While each group was unique, they all shared a passion for their work, for learning and  for understanding  the “why” of today’s effective phone communication. This resulted in training sessions so … Read more

Expectations: Yours or Theirs?

By Mary Jane Copps | July 24, 2016

Customer service often finds its way into conversations I have with family, friends and colleagues.  Whether it’s fabulous, good or deplorable, it ‘s something we all notice and we freely share our experiences with others. Good service means doing what the customer expects, and while … Read more

The Power and Beauty of the Human Voice

By Mary Jane Copps | July 17, 2016

In 2003 a friend encouraged me to start a business centred on phone communication skills. I was skeptical.  He insisted. At this point, I’d been working with him part-time for 2 years, and he’d listened to me as I’d grown his software business from 11 clients … Read more

The Automatic “No”

By Mary Jane Copps | July 9, 2016

My husband (David Potter) tells a funny – and embarrassing – story about me and my tendency to say “no”. In our early years together he would often call me at work with an invitation to go somewhere or do something. He’d be all enthused … Read more

Summer’s Ease = Opportunity

By Mary Jane Copps | July 2, 2016

It is tempting. I’m struggling with it a bit myself – a desire to slow down, go to the beach, read on the deck  – basically behave like I did in elementary school and September seemed a very distant possibility. But don’t give in to that temptation … Read more

Mid-Year Logic for Year-End Success

By Mary Jane Copps | June 26, 2016

The summer I turned 18, I spent as much time as possible at my sister’s cabin, an isolated homestead deep in the woods of Northern Ontario. And I often brought along a friend to enjoy the canoeing, reading, swimming and hiking. One friend came prepared … Read more

4 Steps to a Great Vacation Message

By Mary Jane Copps | June 11, 2016

It’s coming! Even though here on the Atlantic coast we’ve seen more fog and cloud than sun, we know that summer is on it’s way, bringing well-deserved vacation time and …voice mail vacation messages. In the excitement of summer vacation – or really any vacation … Read more

The Forgotten Follow Up – Part Four

By Mary Jane Copps | June 5, 2016

Whether each of us will admit it or not, we have all “dropped the ball” when it comes to following up. Even when we use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management system), it is still possible to click past a reminder, telling ourselves we’ll get back to … Read more

Follow Up Builds Trust – Part Three

By Mary Jane Copps | May 27, 2016

In a recent workshop, a participant shared this challenge: Ten days earlier she had spoken to a prospect she has wanted to work with for years. It was a great conversation and the prospect did agree to take the next step  – move into the discovery … Read more

Follow Up as Art – Part Two

By Mary Jane Copps | May 22, 2016

The phrase “follow up” can be defined as an activity carried out in order to further develop earlier work. For me this brings to mind the stages involved in creating a painting, or sculpture, or writing a book. For all works of art, there is a … Read more

The Language of Following Up – Part One

By Mary Jane Copps | May 14, 2016

Early in April I received a sales call that caught my attention. It was from VoiceAmerica; they produce podcasts. In her voicemail message, the woman who called identified herself as a “producer” and used words that sparked my interest, i.e. discovered you, the research we’ve done, … Read more

We can now curate who we talk to in a way that wasn’t thinkable when a bulky landline phone rang with anonymous urgency. Listen in here.
CBCs-The-Current
CRTC has recently taken new steps to fight fraud calls and phone scams. Read (and listen) to what Mary Jane has to say about this problem.
Cold Calls: The Psychology Behind the Human Voice - listen to this podcast featuring The Phone Lady.
This Hour Has 22 Minutes
Episode featuring The Phone Lady - watch Telephone Lessons for Millennials.
The Wall Street Journal.
Some on Wall Street are hanging up on voicemail. See what The Phone Lady has to say.