Telephone conversations require attention to special rules of etiquette because the person you speak with can rely only on your words and your tone to understand you. Whether calling for business or personal reasons, it is best to avoid common mistakes to get the most out of the conversation.

Check the Number

Double-check the phone number before dialing to make sure it is correct. It is impolite to disturb a stranger by dialing the wrong number. If you dial a wrong number, offer a short apology and end the call quickly.

Timing Your Call

When calling a business, be sure to call with plenty of time before their closing hour. The timing of personal calls should take into account the bedtime and waking time of the person you are calling. These times are different for everybody; it is best to know a person's hours in advance before you try to call them very early or very late.

Leaving a Message

If you leave a message, be sure to give your full name, your contact information and the best time to reach you. If you are taking the message, gather the same information from the caller.

Cell Phone Discretion

Living in the cell phone age allows you to talk on the phone anywhere you want. The Emily Post Institute suggests that you avoid interrupting a social activity or conversation in order to take or make calls -- this signals to the people with you that they are less important.

Listening

It is paramount to listen to what the other person is saying. Do not speak when the other person is trying to say something to you. Sometimes it is helpful to repeat any important information to make sure you understand what was said to you.