How to start a phone conversation: 10 steps

Table of contents:

How to start a phone conversation: 10 steps
How to start a phone conversation: 10 steps

There are some times when you want to make an important phone call, whether it's to plan an appointment or to further your career. Starting a conversation can be intimidating if you're not in the habit of doing it over the phone. The key to a proper phone call is to prepare ahead of time and make sure both parties feel comfortable so that they can calmly discuss the matter at hand.


Part 1 of 3: Planning Ahead

Start a Phone Conversation Step 1
Start a Phone Conversation Step 1

Step 1. Determine what you want to achieve with the call

Before you even pick up the phone, it is important to identify what you want to accomplish with the phone call. For example, if you call someone you are romantically interested in, your goal might be to ask them out on a date. During a business call, the intention could be to sell your merchandise or promote your services. Ask yourself what you hope to achieve with the conversation.

  • When possible, it's good to identify your specific goal as much as possible. This can help you better prepare for the conversation.
  • In some cases, your goal for the call may be more general. For example, you could call a company to ask about the services it offers without knowing exactly what interests you. The information you will get could help you clarify exactly what you need or want.
Start a Phone Conversation Step 2
Start a Phone Conversation Step 2

Step 2. Find out who you will talk to

When you call to speak to someone specific and whom you don't know well, you should get their basic information. This can help you get a better idea of what you can hope to achieve from the conversation. For example, if you talk to the CEO of a company, he may be very busy and may not have much time to talk to you. Also, you may have to be the one to do most of the conversation if you are talking to someone who is shy.

  • If you're making a business call, visit the website of the company the person you're calling works for. You should find his job title and perhaps a bio that can help you get an idea of who he is.
  • If you are making a personal call, ask a friend who knows the person you are calling so that you know what they are like before having a conversation with them.
Start a Phone Conversation Step 3
Start a Phone Conversation Step 3

Step 3. Write down some talking points

When you know what you want and who you will be talking to, you may feel better taking some notes for the phone call. It could be a point you want to make sure to mention or a matter you want to ask. Having a list can help you remember something important when you finally make the call.

  • You could create an outline in order of what you plan to say on the call. You will obviously have to adjust based on the responses you receive, but this may help you stay on track if you feel nervous about talking on the phone.
  • Think about how long you might have to talk on the phone. It is preferable to assume that you will not have much time, so you should focus on the most important topics you want to discuss.

Part 2 of 3: Strike up a conversation

Start a Phone Conversation Step 4
Start a Phone Conversation Step 4

Step 1. Say hello and introduce yourself

First, you should greet the person who answers the call by saying "Hello." These days, most people have caller ID, but you must still introduce yourself, unless the person taking your call greets you by name. If you call someone you know very well, just saying your name will suffice. However, in other situations, you may need to provide more information so that the person can identify you.

  • When it comes to greetings, you can use a specific greeting for the time of day, such as "Good morning," "Good afternoon," or "Good evening."
  • If you make a business call, you must also provide the name of the company you work for. For example, you could say "Good morning, I'm Jessica Gonzales from Grace Advertising."
  • If you're calling someone you are romantically interested in, you could mention where you met. For example, you could say, "Hi, I'm Miguel Pérez. We met at the gym last week."
  • If you call someone with whom you have a mutual friend, you should mention that friend's name. For example, you could say "Hi, I'm Alice. I'm friends with Eric. I think he told you he'd call you."
  • If you are calling about a job opportunity, you should mention where you found the job. For example, you could say "Hi, I'm Hidalgo García. I'm calling about the job that was announced in the newspaper yesterday."
  • If you call a company to ask for generic information, you don't necessarily have to provide your name. You could say "Hi, I'm interested in your self-storage services."
Start a Phone Conversation Step 5
Start a Phone Conversation Step 5

Step 2. Ask if this is a good time to talk

If you want to have a proper conversation on the phone, it's important to make sure the person you're calling is just as focused as you. For this reason, it is advisable to ask if he has time to speak before trying to start a conversation. If he tells you that he has time to talk, you can start the conversation. However, if he is taking care of other business or is about to leave, you should find another time to talk.

  • If the person you are calling is not ready to speak when you call, schedule another time to speak before hanging up. You could say "Would it be okay if I call you back in the afternoon? Maybe at 3?"
  • If that person wants to call you, tell them a day and time when you have availability. You could say "I'll be available tomorrow morning. Maybe around 10?"
Start a Phone Conversation Step 6
Start a Phone Conversation Step 6

Step 3. Break the ice with a little talk

If you call to ask or sell something, you may not necessarily want to get straight to the point. This could be unattractive to the person you are calling. Instead, try to build a relationship by engaging in a short talk about light-hearted topics, like the weather.

  • However, don't get too involved with the talk. That person might start to get impatient.
  • If you know the person you are calling, personalize the conversation with interests that you know they have. For example, if you call someone you know is a sports fanatic, you could say, "It was an excellent game last night, right?"
  • If you don't know the person you're calling, make the conversation more generic. For example, you could say, "It's been really hot lately, hasn't it? I don't remember it being like this last summer."
Start a Phone Conversation Step 7
Start a Phone Conversation Step 7

Step 4. Go straight to the goal of the call

When you and that person feel more comfortable and relaxed, it's time to get to the heart of the matter. Tell him why you are calling. Use as much clarity and consistency as possible because you will sound more confident than if you rambled on.

  • While it is true that you want to project confidence, be sure to be courteous if you ask the person you are calling for something.
  • If you talk too much without stopping, she could start to disengage. It is advisable to stop and get opinions if you have managed to convey a lot of what you want to say.
  • Do not eat food or chew gum (gum) while talking on the phone. The sounds can give the impression that you are not really interested in the conversation.

Part 3 of 3: Prepare for the call

Start a Phone Conversation Step 8
Start a Phone Conversation Step 8

Step 1. Find a quiet place

When it's time to make the call, you want to make sure to make it as satisfying as possible. This means that you should create an environment that is conducive to conversation, so find a quiet place to use the phone. You should keep noise in the background to a minimum to avoid having to ask him to repeat what he said or yell to be heard.

  • The best place to make the call is an empty place with the door closed. In this way, you will ensure that you have a quiet space.
  • If you have to make a call in an office with open cubicles, where you can hear your coworkers, you could schedule it so that the office is less crowded. For example, you could do it at lunchtime or at the end of the day when people are heading home.
  • When possible, avoid making important phone calls in public places, like a restaurant or grocery store. They are usually full of distractions and are too loud to have a proper conversation. If you have to call someone when you are out, try to find a quiet place, such as the corridor outside a restaurant bathroom or an empty hallway in a store.
Start a Phone Conversation Step 9
Start a Phone Conversation Step 9

Step 2. Find a good signal

Today many people use cell phones as their primary phone. If this is the case, make sure you have an excellent signal on your cell phone before making the call so you know that the quality will be good. Walk until you have a sign that you feel comfortable with. If you can't get one with your cell phone, you can use a landline.

  • Normally, the sound quality of a landline call is better than a cell phone, so if your call is very important, you could use a landline if possible. This is highly recommended if you are calling someone who is older and whose hearing may not be as good.
  • When using a cell phone, be sure to hold it so that the internal microphone registers your voice smoothly. It is preferable not to make important calls with loudspeaker.
Start a Phone Conversation Step 10
Start a Phone Conversation Step 10

Step 3. Make sure you feel comfortable

Before you start dialing, you need to make sure you have the preparation to fully focus on the conversation. For example, you should note that you do not want to go to the bathroom and that you have a drink nearby in case you are thirsty. It is also advisable to have tissue papers on hand in case you have to sneeze during the call.

Decide if you will be more comfortable sitting down or standing up for the call. If you are feeling nervous, you may find that moving slightly from side to side while speaking can help you calm down


  • If you feel nervous about making a certain phone call, you could practice it. Ask a friend or family member to perform with the person you are calling so you can put yourself to the test.
  • If you are calling someone for a personal or social reason, you may want to start with a text message asking if they have a few minutes to talk on the phone. He may feel more comfortable if he knows you will call him.
  • Try to project a positive attitude during the call. While he may not be able to see you, smiling as you speak can make you sound more enthusiastic and positive on the phone.
  • Take care to enunciate carefully during your conversation on the phone. You want them to understand what you are saying without difficulty.
  • Pay attention to the rhythm of your speech. If you speak too quickly, it could also be difficult to understand you.

Popular by topic