client resources

Phone Skills

Using the telephone in a professional and polite manner is a very useful skill to have as many roles in the workplace require that you are able to confidently speak to customers, clients or external agencies on the phone. It is also useful in day to day life when you communicate with others using your own mobile phone, for example when you book an appointment.

Types of phone call

It is common for people to be scared of using the telephone in different situations.  Before we look at some ways to overcome anxieties about using the telephone, let's look at the different types of calls you can make.

Personal social calls

Personal calls can be easier to make or receive for some people as they are informal and you are not likely to be asked for information that you don’t know, or to be challenged by the person you are speaking to. 

Personal calls include:

  • Making arrangements to meet or do an activity with someone
  • To give, receive or check information
  • Have a conversation
  • To ask for help or support from a friend or family member
Personal business calls

As well as calls that you may make related to your job, business calls can be related to personal areas of your life and usually include making appointments, contacting companies for information or dealing with bills and finances.  Some examples of these types of calls could include:

  • Making a doctor or dentist appointment
  • Phoning your bank
  • Speaking to Customer & Local Services or the Tax Office
  • Contacting your landlord
  • Making a complaint or returning something you have purchased
  • Booking someone to carry out a repair for you
Workplace business calls

These are the calls you make and receive at work, or are related to your work.  Some people find these calls more difficult to make as they tend to be more formal and you may not always know, or have spoken to the person you are contacting before.  Other people may find them easier to make as they don't have to share any personal information and can ask for help from a colleague if needed.   Some examples of workplace business calls include:

  • Calling work to advise you are unwell
  • Contacting a customer, client or colleague
  • Placing an order 
  • Gathering or sharing information
  • Dealing with a complaint or query

Making and Receiving Phone Calls

Our guide to making and receiving telephone calls explains the different types of calls people make in more detail.  We also give tips on how to manage phone calls and give example phrases that you can use when someone calls you. 

There are also plenty of role-play scenarios in the guide that you can practise to build your confidence.  

Making and Receiving Calls Guide

There are also some good role-play situations you can undertake:

Phone Role Plays

Or YouTube videos to watch:

If you would like to develop your phone skills speak to your Employment Coordinator.  They will be able to undertake practice calls with you and discuss what you can say on the phone during certain situations that are specific to your workplace. 

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