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MASTERY OF SPEECH
How to Talk Over the Telephone
KEY WORDS: IN ALL TELEPHONING SPEAK DISTINCTLY, AND BE DISCREET AND PLEASANT.
I have just called you to the telephone. What do you say?
You have wasted time. Say:
"Brown-Smith Company, Elmer Jones talking."
Surely you don't shout into the instrument and disturb everyone around you. You know that a low voice carries remarkably well.
Neither do you speak at lightning speed, running your words hopelessly together.
You speak slowly, in a low voice, enunciating your words carefully.
How many people do you think you are addressing when you speak into a telephone?
Perhaps no one hears you except the one to whom you know you are talking. Perhaps, also, there are a number of others.
Remember this. If you have any very great secret, don't tell it over the telephone.
Suppose you come to disagreement with the person to whom you speak. Will it pay to "have it out" over the 'phone?
Most decidedly not. You cannot see his expression, you cannot catch his full tone, and you can gain nothing. Hang up the telephone if you wish, but don't quarrel.
I have a friend who talks half an hour every time he calls me up. I could hang up the telephone but I don't wish to offend him. What is the result? He has very little chance to talk to me over the telephone.
Don't speak at length.
Furthermore, be very careful in transacting business, for misunderstandings are easy.
Spell out names. Ask to have numbers repeated. If you leave a message, ask to have the entire message repeated.
In general, over the telephone, be pleasant.
If you are tempted to scold or berate Central, go to the telephone central office some day and watch the girls work. When you see the wonder of that work, and realize the nervous tension needed, you will make a firm resolve to be pleasant to Central if to no one else in the world.
Learn the following summary:
1. Don't say "Hello!" Give your name.
2. Don't shout. Speak quietly.
3. Use clear enunciation.
4. Speak slowly.
5. Avoid telling secrets over the 'phone.
6. Do not quarrel by telephone.
7. Speak briefly.
8. Spell out names.
9. Ask to have numbers repeated.
10. Ask to have messages repeated.
11. Be pleasant.
12. Be kindly to "Central."
A man calls you up and complains of work you have done for him. Think out a telephone talk with him.
How to Make Inquiries
KEY WORDS: BE VERY SPECIFIC WHEN YOU MAKE INQUIRIES.
Answer these questions: Have you ever been annoyed by the way in which people have asked questions?
What part of their speech has annoyed you most?
Turn now to the friend who is with you and make some inquiry.
Have you done it? Did the friend answer your inquiry at once, or did he say, "What do you mean?" "Just which one?" or something like that?
You should word every inquiry in such a way that it will produce a direct answer to your question, and not a question asking for further information.
Two men are talking. One says: "Did you read the story last week?"
The other answers: "What story?"
"The one in the Saturday Evening Post."
"The adventure story."