Article Summary:A business phone etiquette tip for how to end a rambling phone call tactfully.
Have you ever been stuck in a telephone conversation that won’t end? Some people don’t seem to be able to state their questions clearly and briefly.
You have a twofold challenge in this situation: first find out what they want and how you can help, then bring the conversation to a close.
Getting to the point
If the caller is rambling, chances are you can’t tell what the point is. To find out, you might try these questions:
- What can I do to help you?
- As I understand it, Mr. Smith, what you need from me is .... Is that correct?
- What do you believe I can do to resolve this for you?
Once you have agreed to do something, that doesn’t necessarily end matters. Often callers are wound up, and they just keep going over and over the same ground.
Ending the conversation
Depending on how the first part of the conversation has gone, one of the following may work:
- I think John Smith in Marketing is the right person to help you with this. Let me speak to him, and either he or I will call you back on Thursday.
- Let me look into this for you and get back to you this afternoon.
- Our information packet will probably answer all your questions. I will put one in the mail to you today, and if you need clarification please do call me again.
- Well, Margaret, I must go now. I hope you are able to work everything out all right. I’ll talk to you soon.
Obviously, each situation is different and these suggestions can’t be used as “scripts”. However, you’ll find you can adapt them to suit most situations.
Don’t feel you must make an excuse or explain yourself. When you have done what you can to deal with the caller’s needs, you now owe it to yourself to move on to the next item on your schedule. Remember, your time is just as valuable as anyone else’s.
Helen Wilkie is a professional keynote speaker, workshop leader and author specializing in applied communication. Read more articles on this and other communication subjects on her website at www.mhwcom.com. Subscribe to Helen's free monthly e-zine, "Communi-keys", and get your free 40-page e-book, 23 ideas you can use RIGHT NOW to communicate and succeed in your business career!