Manners That Sell

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Mouth Noises Over The Phone – Choose The Smile

You may think that while you are sitting alone talking on your phone, people can’t see what you are doing. In this mad world of multi-tasking, absolutely no one feels comfortable doing just one thing at a time. We have to be doing two or three things at once or we feel guilty. So when we are on the phone, we can’t simply focus on the caller. We need to be checking email, sending text messages, shuffling the piles of paper on our desk, eating our lunch, drinking a soda, chewing our gum and cracking our ice.

Some people even smoke while talking on the phone. They sneak outside to the safe area for a cigarette and use the time to return phone calls.You know them. You’ve heard them exhaling. And how about the yawners?

All of those sounds and distractions are obvious to the person on the other end of the line unless you managed to hit the mute key. People know when they don’t have your full attention. They know if you have muted your phone.

To me the most offensive sounds are  mouth noises over the phone.  This is no time to grab your lunch, finish off those few potato chips, chew your gum, crack your ice or slurp your coffee. Not only are you not fooling people, you are offending them with your lack of phone courtesy. Instead of turning on clients, you are turning them off.

However, of all the mouth noises over the phone, there is one that your caller would like to hear. Can you guess? It’s your smile. People on the other end of the line cannot see your smile, but they can definitely hear it. Try it. Perhaps you don’t feel like smiling. Maybe you are having a bad day. Do it anyway even if it isn’t coming from your heart. A smile, genuine or fake, changes the tone of your voice.

When you choose to make mouth noises over the phone, go with a smile. It’s good manners. It demonstrates your attention to business etiquette…and it enhances client relationships which ultimately adds to your profits.

If you want more tips on telephone courtesy, I have written an e-book Business Etiquette 101 – Telephone CourtesyClick here to learn more.

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Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website,

Posted by on June 3, 2013.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Business Etiquette Newsletter, Telephone Etiquette

2 Responses

  1. And if you really want to make people feel disrespected, try washing the dishes while you talk on the phone. Works every time.

    Thanks Lydia!

    by Greg Tamblyn on Jun 4, 2013 at 11:22 am

  2. Lawsie, I could go on and on about that! Dell

    by Dell on Jun 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm

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About Manners That Sell

Lydia Ramsey is a leading business etiquette and modern manners expert who offers seminars, keynote speeches, webinars and individual coaching. She works with corporations, associations, colleges and universities as well as individuals. After careers in education, healthcare and non-profits, Lydia formed her own business to pursue her passion for modern manners and professional courtesy. While […]more →