Telephone etiquette doesn't mean being stiff and overly formal on the phone, and it isn't just for talking to your grandmother or impressing a potential client. Using basic courtesy and good manners when talking and texting helps set a positive tone for a conversation and can help you avoid confusing, frustrating or even embarrassing situations.

Taking Calls

DO greet the caller pleasantly and identify yourself when you answer the phone. In a business setting, say "Good morning" or "Good afternoon," then name your company or department and say who's speaking. On a personal phone, say "Hello" and give your name. DON'T answer in a brisk or hurried tone or with "Yes" or "Yeah." People don't want to feel like their call is unwelcome.

Making Calls

DO identify yourself clearly and politely ask for the person you're trying to reach or briefly state your reason for calling. Take a few moments before you place the call to determine what you're going to say. Being clear and concise up front will save time and reduce confusion. DON'T demand to talk to someone or launch into a request or complaint without first saying hello and identifying yourself. The recipient of your call will be much happier to help you if you make a good first impression.

Using Your Voice

DO speak in a friendly, pleasant voice with moderate volume. Smiling while you're talking, regardless of whether anyone is looking at you, will improve your tone of voice. DON'T use an inappropriate volume. A voice that's too loud can sound aggressive, while an overly quiet voice can be very difficult to understand. If you have difficulty controlling the volume of your voice, try moving the receiver a little distance away from your ear and listen to yourself talk for a few moments. Adjust your volume as needed.

Watch Your Language

DO use polite, professional language, speaking to your conversation partner the way you would hope to be spoken to. If you're on a professional call, keep your conversation partner informed of what's going on at your end.
DON'T use abrupt phrases or issue orders to your conversation partner, such as "Hang on" or "Who's calling?" If you're on a professional or business call, avoid using slang.

Call Interrupted

DO apologize if you're interrupted during a call and ask your conversation partner's permission before placing him on hold. Check back in on him regularly while he's on hold. DON'T talk in a distracting environment, try to multitask while you talk or carry on in-person conversations while you're on the phone.

Time to Say Goodbye

DO wind down the conversation courteously by using closing and past tense phrases, such as "Thanks for calling" and "I'm glad we were able to talk today." End the call by clearly saying goodbye. DON'T stop the conversation abruptly or impatiently. Avoid ambiguous or slang closing phrases like "OK, see ya" or "Toodles" that might make your partner uncertain about whether the call is ending.

Taking Messages

DO sound friendly and accommodating, letting the caller know you're writing her message down and will pass it on to the person she's trying to reach as soon as possible. If you need more information from the caller, ask for it politely and not in a prying way. DON'T be impatient or short with the caller. If she suspects her message won't be forwarded, she may be uneasy. Don't be nosey by asking for more information than you need or the caller wants to give.

Leaving Messages

DO speak clearly and slowly, leaving your name and complete number both at the beginning and the end of the message and briefly stating what you're calling about. DON'T ramble on or go into too much detail in a message, and don't assume that the caller remembers your last name or can get your number from the phone's display.

Using Cellphones

DO speak in a soft voice in public places and be mindful of your language and subject matter. If you think you might disrupt those around you, move to a different location or don't take the call. DON'T answer your phone or let it ring in a theater, library or meeting or at a table in a restaurant. Never talk on the phone or text while you're driving.

Texting Tips

DO identify yourself in text messages and be clear and concise. Be mindful of whether your recipient has a texting plan (so you can avoid sending too many messages) and whether he is familiar with common text speak. DON'T text anywhere where a phone call would not be appropriate, and don't text while you're having a conversation or should have your attention elsewhere. Avoid sending serious or sad news by text message.