How to Sound More Professional On the Phone: 10 Tips

How to sound professional on the phone

If you own or work for a company I’m sure you have to handle telephone calls rather frequently. And the way you handle those phone calls can make a serious impact on if you make a sale, your customers stay happy, or your partners continue to want to work with you. Understanding how to sound professional on the phone is an important skill for all business leaders.

Research has shown that a pleasant tone can help create a strong first impression and initiate sales-related conversations, whereas, an unpleasant one can kill the conversation. While not everyone is blessed with a voice that soothes the soul, there are some helpful techniques to ensure that you sound more professional, warm, and welcoming over the phone. Whether you’re a business owner, a manager, or a receptionist, learning how to improve the way your voice sounds is an excellent investment. Trust me, it comes with countless benefits.

Here are ten of our helpful tips for how to sound more professional on the phone.

1. Use the Right Technology

Poor sound quality can destroy a phone call in seconds. More often than not sound interference is due to the hardware and accessories glitching. Other issues can occur due to low quality or poor connections to your computer or other devices. Make sure everything is plugged in the right places, check for the sound quality by making test calls, and replace your old hardware periodically so that your voice comes out crystal clear. Be certain that all your software programs are updated as well, especially if you are using a mobile device.

It’s hard to make the right impression when your own technology is working against you. If you can’t hear someone on the phone, you can’t help them.

2. Position your Mouthpiece Properly

Your technology is your key communication tool, and you want to make sure you’re using it right. Be sure to practice using your mouthpiece before making any professional calls so you know exactly how you sound. A poorly used mouthpiece can make it sound like you’re talking through a tunnel or you’re off in the distance somewhere—which is not the impression we’re trying to make!

We recommend test calling a coworker a couple of times every time you introduce new technology, or in response to any issues on client calls. Every device is a little different and it’s important that you get to know the one you’re working with so you can sound crystal clear to your callers.

3. Stay Hydrated

In many ways, sounding professional on the phone is about clarity—you want to be easy to understand and have a pleasant tone. One of the best ways to maintain clarity is to stay hydrated!

I bet that wasn’t what you were expecting. But if you’re making many phone calls in a day, staying hydrated will make a big difference in the professionalism, clarity, and comfort of those calls. A dry throat can make you sound hoarse or tired, and this can impact how your callers interpret the conversation. While you’re just feeling a sore throat, they’re feeling like you don’t care, aren’t listening, or are aren’t very professional. A big part of speaking on the phone is making sure your best tools are working at top quality—and that includes your own body!

4. Smile when you Speak

This might sound crazy to some of you out there, but a caller can sense whether you’re smiling or grimacing on the other end of that phone call. Even if you’re not in the mood to smile, try to at least relax your facial muscles. A relaxed-sounding voice is much better than a tense one.

Did you know that it takes 62 muscles to frown? That’s a whole lot of work for your face. And, a tight expression equals a harder-sounding voice. On the other hand, when you smile you only use 26 facial muscles and you sound much softer, more patient, and less anxious. So, by smiling you work a lot less and you get better results. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for doing less and gaining more when it comes to working out my muscles.

Simply put, smiling isn’t as much work as you’d think and the benefits are, well…it’s hard not to smile about them.

5. Take Rests in Between Calls

With every frustrated caller, difficult problem to solve, or spam call you have to manage, you get a little tenser. And your next caller can feel how tense you are. Getting the right amount of rest is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that you sound professional and pleasant over the phone. When you’re physically and emotionally drained you just won’t sound cheerful. Instead, your voice will sound dull, lethargic, and even sometimes annoyed. These negative feelings are transferred to the caller who can easily become distracted by your tone. If you wish to sound better you need to schedule enough rest time in between your calls. A well-rested voice will naturally sound warm and friendly.

6. Pronounce Your Words Clearly and Concisely

Your next step to sounding great over the phone is to pay attention to the way you pronounce your words. Especially those that you use frequently. Make sure you don’t run your words together or mumble. A lack of clarity can be interpreted as unprofessional or lazy—even when it’s not.

For English, we recommend that you pick up Daniel Jones’ Pronunciation Dictionary and keep it on your desk at all times. This book teaches you how to pronounce every word in both American and British English while also providing information about various other available pronunciations. It’s a very helpful tool to have on hand.

Not sure how your call handling is going? Our free interactive Call Handling Workbook will help!

Get the Workbook

7. Don’t Rush

Your callers can tell when you’re trying to hurry them off the phone. When you move too fast, they may interpret your tone as impatient and distracted. And nobody wants to talk to someone who’s impatient.

Try to slow down when you’re talking to your callers. Provide them with plenty of pauses where they can interject, ask them if they understand, and give them room to have a conversation. You don’t want to talk at them, you want to talk with them. You should speak evenly and occasionally check in on your pacing to make sure you’re not talking too quickly.

Helpful tip: Try taking three deep breaths before you answer the phone or make a call. This helps pace your speech and you”ll sound much more pleasant and friendly for it.

8. Listen Carefully and Repeat Back What You Hear

Be considerate. It sounds easy enough, but it’s a vital tool when speaking on the phone. You should take the time to truly listen to your callers, instead of just waiting for your turn to speak. And, you should make it clear to your callers that you’re listening. When the conversation pauses, or they’ve listed their needs or problems, take a moment to summarize or repeat them back. Conforming the information a caller provides you is an important rule that every virtual receptionist or call center agent follows. And, there’s a reason for that. People feel heard when you recite back to them what they’ve just told you.

Allow the other person on the line to complete their thoughts before speaking. Nobody likes to be interrupted in the middle of a sentence.

Try something like:

“Just to make sure I understand. The issue you’re having is {insert summary here}. Is that correct?”


“Okay, I’m going to take this to my team so we can get it fixed for you ASAP. Just to verify, you’re experiencing {summary of the issue}, does that sound right?”

9. Be Organized

Keep all of your resources in order and easily accessible. Make your workstation a clutter-free zone. When speaking with a caller you shouldn’t have to start searching for a document, a folder, a note, or a file. Everything should be within reach. You shouldn’t be left struggling to search for something either on the phone or at your desk.

If you must look for something consider placing the caller on a brief hold rather than speaking as you’re rummaging around for the information you need. In fact, a good virtual receptionist knows that being organized can reduce the duration a call kept on hold. And, every second counts.

10. Be Confident

Confidence completely changes your tone of voice. It shows that you’re competent, well-organized, and a good communicator. If you’re selling something a lack of confidence in your tone can imply a lack of confidence in your product or service. Believe it or not, confidence is a skill that you can practice.

If you’re not a self-assured person, pretend you are. There’s an old saying that you might be familiar with that fits this scenario perfectly. “Act like you belong there.” No one will question your authority if you let them know you’re already exactly where you’re supposed to be. A good virtual receptionist isn’t someone who is always fearless or all-knowing but they are someone who performs with confidence.

In order to enhance a caller’s experience, you shouldn’t only provide great customer care but also ensure that you carry your voice well. Your voice quality and its tone can often make more of a difference than what it is you’re actually trying to say. After all, you’re not just providing a service or selling a product here. You’re trying to make a difference in someone’s life. Your voice is a crucial part of how your callers perceive not only you but your business as well.

How to Sound Professional on the Phone with Abby Connect

Is answering your own phone hurting your business? You may not have the time to give your incoming phone calls the attention they deserve and missed calls can be expensive.

That’s where Abby Connect comes in. We’re more than your average virtual receptionist service. With Abby Connect you get a dedicated team of receptionists, powered by A.I. technology who will answer, transfer, take messages, schedule appointments, and more on your behalf. They sound so good, your customers will think they’re sitting at your front desk!

But don’t take our word for it, give Abby Connect a try today. Your first 14 days are on us!

Written by

Marlene Cosain

Marlene Cosain

Marlene started with Abby Connect 7 years ago as a receptionist and was won over by the culture and care the company has for its employees. The minute she took her first phone call, she fell in love with helping people. Since then, Marlene has been a pivotal piece of growing Abby Connect – having been a long-time leader in hiring, training, developing, and managing the receptionist floor. Outside of work, Marlene and her husband also run an online retail business. Marlene’s personal mission as a certified Life Coach and as an Abby Way Co-Director is to inspire, empower and educate others in the Abby Way.

24 responses to “How to Sound More Professional On the Phone: 10 Tips

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