The Phone Lady's Blog

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phone etiquette

4 Steps = Great Vacation Message

By Mary Jane Copps | May 18, 2015

This Canadian long weekend seems like the perfect time to revisit how to create your vacation voice mail message. After all, summer vacation is coming our way! In the excitement of summer vacation – or really any vacation – people become, well, thought-less. This can leave customers and … Read more

What If You Were Honoured?

By Mary Jane Copps | April 19, 2015

Imagine you are at a large business event and the person closest to you politely begins a conversation. They are familiar with your company and your industry and express genuine interest in the work you are doing. Not only that, they ask intelligent questions and even share a … Read more

The Truth About Phone Skills

By Mary Jane Copps | April 12, 2015

Welcome to the second in a series of posts by Leslie Gallagher, owner of Worklocal.jobs, documenting her discovery of the power of phone communication. I’ve been inspired by the joy, excitement and success she’s generated while developing her new skills – and I hope you are too. Enjoy and share!  I never … Read more

The Price of Arrogance

By Mary Jane Copps | April 5, 2015

I’m no stranger to arrogance . . . and neither are you. All of us, from time to time, believe we know better, have “the” answer, are smarter or more important. It ‘s human nature for our ego to occasionally take over in this way. Hopefully we catch … Read more

Networking with Your Voice

By Mary Jane Copps | March 28, 2015

Just over a month ago, I was introduced to Leslie Gallagher with a request to help her pick up the phone. Her ability to own her discomfort and her determination to learn a new skill has been inspiring. She’s agreed to share her experiences with us in a … Read more

Fun … and Productive!

By Mary Jane Copps | March 14, 2015

I want to share with you one of the highlights of my week. Actually, let me revise that – one of the highlights of my career as The Phone Lady. The past few years have revealed that many young people (I’ll say those under 30) do not talk … Read more

The 3 Basics of Effective Phone Communication

By Mary Jane Copps | February 28, 2015

A dear friend of mine used to say “There are three possible answers to every question – yes, no and I don’t know.” I’m reminded of the wisdom of these words often, especially when it comes to the telephone. Effective phone communication is direct and honest. Without the benefit … Read more

Welcoming Opportunity

By Mary Jane Copps | September 21, 2014

Overwhelmed is a word I use in most of my workshops and keynotes. I use it to describe why it can be difficult to reach people on the phone today and why it’s vital for all of us to know our customers’ needs and be precise with our information. … Read more

Listening to Directions

By Mary Jane Copps | August 23, 2014

Some of my summer has been occupied by phone projects for a diverse group of entrepreneurs. I  love doing these projects. For me there is something delightful about sitting at my desk with research tools on my computer screen, pen and paper close by (along with a cup of … Read more

Don’t Chat with Strangers

By Mary Jane Copps | June 22, 2014

This week I’m introducing you to Peggy Issenman, owner of the graphic design firm Peggy & Co., based here in Halifax. I have known Peggy for several years as we have friends in common and have found ourselves enjoying each other’s company at birthday and holiday parties. Last … Read more

Communication Breakdown

By Mary Jane Copps | June 15, 2014

When communication between a customer and a company falls apart, it’s usually because the company representative forgot the #1 rule of great service … It’s Not About You! The example below provided courtesy of Scott Anderson: I recently called a well-known hardware store chain to confirm the barbecue … Read more

Five Ways to Make a Good First Impression

By Mary Jane Copps | June 1, 2014

The month of June has arrived … and with it my deadline to complete the manuscript for my upcoming book, appropriately called The Phone Book.  And I need your help! While I’m struggling to put words in the right order for my publisher Boularderie Island Press,  I need you to … Read more

The Value of Preparation

By Mary Jane Copps | April 13, 2014

Thanks to David Holt, fellow Thought Leader and Editor in Chief, Soar Media Inc., for inspiring this post. David shared with me a phone story. He gave a business associate a referral. This is something we all do from time to time. We’ll say something like “My friend … Read more

Communicating Your Desire to be of Service

By Mary Jane Copps | April 6, 2014

I want to thank my dear friend Janet E. Bardon,  HR Administrator,  Department of Psychiatry,  Dalhousie University for this week’s post. One of my core values in phone communication is we must always speak so that our customers “hear” our desire to be of service. The importance of … Read more

No Call? Then “Yes” Is Still Possible!

By Mary Jane Copps | March 30, 2014

My thanks to Phil O’Neal of Taylor Forge Engineered Systems and to voice talent Natasha Marchewka for inspiring this post. Dismay is a common reaction when I talk to entrepreneurs, salespeople and fundraisers about follow up. The discipline and persistence involved is uncomfortable for most people. And I do understand. … Read more

The AABC’s of Leaving Messages – Part III

By Mary Jane Copps | March 16, 2014

“B” stands for Be Brief or Be Precise. Most of us would immediately say “yes” to having more time; our days are filled to capacity. This is why a loooooong voice mail message is unappreciated, often unanswered and sometimes deleted without ever being heard. The three main components … Read more

The AABC’s of Leaving Messages – Part II

By Mary Jane Copps | March 9, 2014

Irritating and frustrating are the two most common words I hear when people talk about “phone tag”. Think about that for a moment … is this how you want to make your clients or prospects feel – irritated and/or frustrated? And take it one step further – do you want … Read more

The AABC’s of Leaving Messages – Part I

By Mary Jane Copps | March 2, 2014

Leaving a message is one of the basics of effective telephone communication yet many of us find ourselves stumbling “at the sound of the tone”. The first “A” of message leaving stands for Always, as in always leave a message. Of course, there’s an exception for every rule … Read more

The Forgotten Contributor

By Mary Jane Copps | February 16, 2014

I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit that I have been packing up my things and saying my farewells at the end of a committee or board meeting only to be startled by a voice arising from the middle of the table. “Thanks for a great meeting,” … Read more

3 “Must-Do’s” for B2B Phone Sales in 2014 (Part II)

By Mary Jane Copps | December 15, 2013

Using email to sell to prospects and clients without any conversation is like working on a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing. The end result won’t be what you wanted and … it won’t be as much fun! It isn’t that I don’t appreciate email. Know that my background … Read more

3 “Must-Do’s” for B2B Phone Sales in 2014 (Part I)

By Mary Jane Copps | December 1, 2013

If you or your team are responsible for reaching business decision makers by phone, you need to acknowledge the subtle shifts that have taken place in the past two years. And then you have to adapt … or see both revenue and morale falter. The first and most … Read more

Stories of Do and Don’t

By Mary Jane Copps | November 24, 2013

Recent work calling into Vancouver has provided a great story of how not to answer the phone: At one association I was greeted by what I’ll call an “unengaged” receptionist. She wasn’t unpleasant, but she wasn’t welcoming either. She did not use her name when she answered the … Read more

Quickly Creating a Negative Impression

By Mary Jane Copps | November 17, 2013

This past Thursday, while doing some phonework, I encountered a phone option that, while I knew of its existence, I’d never experienced in a business setting. And I hope I never do again! Here’s the story: I had about 90 minutes to spend on a client project and … Read more

Not Only Words, But Nuance

By Mary Jane Copps | November 3, 2013

The most powerful gift of phone communication is – nuance. Coming from the French “nuer”, meaning to shade, nuance is about subtle differences in tone, in colour, in meaning – the differences that, when we hear them, allow us to truly serve our customers and potential customers. While … Read more

Time to Go Retro!

By Mary Jane Copps | October 27, 2013

Telephone communication – the how and why we reach and speak to each other – has changed. Even in the past year subtle shifts have taken place that we must embrace or … we’re going to miss out on opportunities – and so will our customers and prospects. … Read more

Either/Or? Try Both … Or More!

By Mary Jane Copps | October 20, 2013

There’s no doubt we are struggling to communicate with each other. I don’t mean that we are having a hard time understanding each other, although that certainly happens. I mean we are having troubling connecting, knowing which medium to use to reach which audience … and get a … Read more

My Cellphone Dilemna

By Mary Jane Copps | October 6, 2013

I’ve been contemplating some criticism I received back in August about how I handle incoming calls. The Wall Street Journal article had just been published and there were people from all over the world reaching out to me. And for many of them their expectation was – because … Read more

The Five “Why’s” of Leaving Messages

By Mary Jane Copps | September 29, 2013

“Ninety percent of all those who fail are not actually defeated. They simply quit.” Paul J. Meyer So pleased this quote landed in my inbox. While it certainly supports my thoughts on persistence last week, it also applies to this week’s topic – leaving messages. Over the past … Read more

The Sound of Insincerity

By Mary Jane Copps | September 16, 2013

All of us rely on each of our senses to provide us with data, information that helps us make decisions and allows us to communicate effectively with others. It is logical that when one of our senses is unavailable to us, we feel disoriented and even frightened. Hence … Read more

Are You Up For a Challenge?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 8, 2013

If you want to test out, practice or stretch your phone skills, I have a challenge for you this week. I’ve been asked the question “Why the telephone?” a lot in the past few weeks. And while I’ve been contemplating the many different answers, I thought about my … 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.