Telephone Etiquette – Don’t Relay Too Much Information When Answering the Phone

On numerous occasions, I have been given more information than I need when calling a business or a residence. When asking to speak with a certain individual, I only need to know if they are available to speak with me at this time. If they’re not available, when can I reach them or may I leave a message?

  • I do not need to know they have been in the restroom for the past 20 minutes and should be out soon or just left their desk to go to the restroom – so give them a little extra time. (Is there a problem?)
  • I do not need to know they haven’t arrived to the office yet. (They are not punctual)
  • I do not need to know they left the office early for the day. (They are slackers)
  • I do not need to know who they’re meeting with. (They’re meeting with my competitor!!!)
  • I do not need to know how long they’ve been gone for lunch. (Not punctual and a slacker)
  • I do not want a run down of their busy schedule. (You don’t think my schedule is busy too?)
  • I do not need to know mom or dad is taking a bath. (Too much information)
  • I really do not want to know the new puppy just got sick all over the new sofa. (Note to self: do not sit on that sofa during the dinner party this weekend)
  • I don’t want to know mom or dad doesn’t want to speak with me. (Why, don’t they like me?)

The rules for answering a business phone are the same rules that apply to answering a home phone. Employees and children should be taught the same basic manners.

Simply say, “I’m sorry, _______ is not available to speak with you at this time. May I take a message?”

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