Reproduced from 50 Training Activities for Administrative, Secretarial
and Support Staff by Elizabeth Sansom and Christine Newton, HRD Press
(1 of 2)
The “Golden Rules” of Switchboard Technique
1. Smile as you lift the receiver and start talking.
2. Always say “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” or “Good evening” as appropriate,
before you say anything else. This gives the caller the opportunity to “tune in” to
your voice and they are much more likely to hear the next thing you say.
3. State the name of your organization clearly, making each word distinct.
4. If you work for a large organization and the switchboard is merely a “filter” for calls,
develop one or more phrases with which you feel comfortable and that will help you
handle calls swiftly. For example:
• “Whom would you like to speak to, please?”
• “How may I direct your call?”
• “Which department can I connect you to?”
All of the above questions will generally prevent the caller going into detail about
why they are calling or starting a conversation with you. It is a professional, pleas-
ant, yet helpful technique and will help you deal efficiently with a large volume of
5. If you work for a smaller organization in which the switchboard is also a reception,
information, or administration post, it is appropriate to offer help. So consider, after
doing #1, #2, and #3 above, whether you need to say anything else.
If you have greeted the caller with a smile in your voice, said “Good morning” (or
whatever is appropriate), and given your organization’s name, you may just pause
now. Alternatively, you might like to say “May I help you?” or “How may I help you?”
If you do, make sure that you sound sincere and comfortable with the phrase, not
like a parrot.
6. If the caller is asking for something that you will deal with personally, always ask for
their name (and their organization’s name and telephone number, if appropriate)
and volunteer your own in case they need to contact you again.
7. If you are giving your own name, give it in full because this makes you sound more
confident and responsible. Most senior people in organizations give both their first
and last names.
8. Make notes on every call that you handle personally.
9. Use a duplicate message pad or save a copy of messages sent by e-mail on the