Learning About Startups

Protect Your Number One Asset When Making Calls: Your Voice

You can study all you want about how to work with customers over the phone and transfer callers to the right department -- but none of that will help you if your voice is out of whack. When you spend a large part of the day on your phone, it's easy for your voice to start to go, and if it does, that means you can't do a large part of your job. Take care of your voice with some simple strategies.

Don't Cradle the Phone by Your Neck

Everyone does this occasionally: holding the phone between their shoulder and cheek as they use both hands to type something into a computer or locate a form. If you find you have to do this, ask your supervisor for a headset with a microphone. If you crane your neck constantly, you put pressure on all your muscles and tissues, and when you speak, you kind of have to strain a bit to speak up.

Check Air Vent Locations

A common problem in commercial/office settings is having an air conditioning vent located right above your chair. That constant stream of air, be it cold in summer or warm in winter, can dry out your nose and throat. The result is that you sound like you have a cold when really, you're just exposed to too much of a breeze. If you can't move to another desk, see if the vent slats can be repositioned so that the air isn't blowing down directly on you.

Learn How to Clear Your Throat

Clearing your throat might seem like a normal activity, but it can be harsh on your vocal folds (aka vocal cords). Strong throat clearing can contribute to the formation of vocal nodules, which can make you sound hoarse, and which can also hurt. If you have to clear your throat, do so gently; otherwise, try to use cough drops or drink some warm water or tea to soothe whatever is going on.

Watch out for Very Cold Drinks

Really icy drinks can temporarily numb your mouth and make it hard to enunciate, especially if you like to chew ice. That does go away -- your mouth will only be that way for a few minutes -- but if you need to talk as part of your job, having odd pronunciation isn't going to make a good impression.

Along with offering car sales phone training, employers should also offer information about voice and vocal care. The voice is an important tool, and you want yours to sound nice.