In the first minute of your calls, your customers are making a decision about you. They are deciding if they can trust you and whether you know your stuff.
How do I know?
Because Amy Cuddy, a psychologist at the Harvard Business School, has been studying first impressions for more than a decade. She and her colleagues found that we make snap judgments about other people that answer two primary questions:
· Can I trust this person?
· Can I respect this person’s capabilities?
According to Cuddy’s research, 80% to 90% of a first impression is based on these two traits. Subconsciously, you and the people you meet are asking yourselves, “Can I trust that this person has good intentions toward me?” and “Is this person capable?”
Cuddy tells us that, “A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration, but only after you’ve achieved trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat.”
Here are some tips for sounding trustworthy and competent over the phone.
- Sit up for better projection. Slumping in your chair or straining towards the computer blocks your airflow and your energy.
- Add some inflection. Punch up the key words of your greeting. "GOOD MORNING, you’ve reached AWESOME CO, this is ANN."
- Slow your pace down. Focus on moving your lips as you say your greeting, or air-write your name. Each one will help decrease your pace.
A great greeting doesn’t solve everything, but it does set the stage for a better interaction.