9 Professional Ways for How to Answer the Phone at Work


In today’s world, hearing a telephone ring might be the most surprising sound you will hear all day. Because, let’s face it, who uses the phone anymore? It’s all about the email and texting. But for those who make a concerted effort of calling your phone number, it is safe to say that they have earned your respect and admiration. So, treat them in a professional way.

Here are the nine best ways for how to answer the phone at work:

1. Ring, Ring, Ring

It might be counterintuitive in the business world, but it is better to never answer the telephone right away. At the same time, you don’t want the caller to wait too long and think they are getting the air.

Believe it or not, the best number of rings is two to three. If it is longer than three, the person might think he or she is getting ignored. If it is just one ring, then the person might not have enough to gather his or her thoughts or that individual might think you are not very busy. So, keep it at two or three rings.

2. Take a Deep Breath

Prior to answering the telephone, it would be a good idea to take a deep breath. It can be easy to forget, especially when you’re really busy and you’re constantly on the phone. But ensuring that you’re taking a deep breath can achieve a few things:

  • It can help you relax.
  • It can help you collect your thoughts.
  • It can help you speak slower; nobody likes talking to an auctioneer on the telephone.

All you need is a second or two to breathe. That will suffice.

3. Utter a Professional Greeting

“Hello.” No way will that work as a business greeting when answering the phone. That will only confuse the caller and make them wonder if they have dialed the right number.

So, here is how to answer the phone at work professionally:

  • Ditch “hello” and go for “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.”
  • Say the name of the business and followed by your name.
  • End your greeting by asking, “How may I help you?”

One more thing: Don’t chew food at the same time!

4. Smile When Talking

Have you noticed how radio hosts sound happy all the time, particularly at 5 a.m.? Well, it isn’t because they are ecstatic waking up 3 a.m. to get the station by 4 a.m. and then prepare for a 5 a.m. show.

They employ a trick – the same one that many telemarketers and survey interviewers use – smile.

That’s right. By just pretending to smile as you speak will make it sound as if you are a really happy person. Heck, you may sound like the happiest person in your city, even if you are the most miserable person. Just try it now. This is one of the best ways for how to answer the phone at work!

5. Maintain Positive Language

A positive attitude is a basis for success. But does this include positive language? You bet!

Customers aren’t thrilled when they hear a business utters certain phrases, such as “No,” “We can’t,” and “I don’t know.” Even if these might be the circumstances, you can always respond with better phrases, such as “I apologize that I cannot that. But if you give me a moment, I can transfer you someone who is better equipped to handle that matter.”

It conveys the idea that you might not be able to solve the caller’s concern or inquiry, but you are diligent in finding a way to assist them in any capacity.

6. Speak Directly into the Mouthpiece

Phone etiquette is going extinct, which means many of us lack the basic knowledge of using a telephone. As a result, something as simple as speaking directly and clearly into the mouthpiece is a foreign concept.

This may seem like common sense, but speaking clearly using your normal tone of voice and bringing the phone to your face will generate a clear and concise conversation.

7. Don’t Use Buzzwords, Slang, or Industry Jargon

This is a business call, not a personal one. Therefore, you should act as professional as possible. This means ditching buzzwords, avoiding slang, and perhaps even foregoing the industry jargon.

Here are some tips:

  • Substitute things like “yep” and “nah” for “yes” and no.”
  • Swap “no problem” with “you’re welcome.”
  • Replace “reach out” for “Let’s set up a meeting.”

These might not seem important, but they go a long way to boost the professionalism of a call.

8. End the Call on a High Note

Everything before this one ties perfectly into this final point: Ending the call on a high note.

How do you achieve this? That is simple: Just be polite and say, “thank you.” Then, since the other person initiated the call, allow that individual to hang up first.

9. Keep Pen and Paper Nearby

You never know what information you need to jot down, what you need to remind yourself to do later, or whatever else you need to do with a pen and paper. That said, keep a pen and paper near the telephone at all times. This is critical and cannot be overstated.

Is the telephone dying? Somewhat. Despite everyone seemingly using email and text as their primary forms of communication, there are still some who like the personal touch of a phone call. So, for those who make the effort of physically dialing your number and verbalizing their needs, be professional, courteous, and thankful.