Reproduced from 50 Training Activities for Administrative, Secretarial
and Support Staff by Elizabeth Sansom and Christine Newton, HRD Press
Handout 23-1
(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
calls.
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
computer.
Handout 23-1
(2 of 2)
Reproduced from 50 Training Activities for Administrative, Secretarial
and Support Staff by Elizabeth Sansom and Christine Newton, HRD Press
Handout 23-1 (concluded)
10. If you take a call from someone who could in the future dial direct to the person they
need in the organization, make sure that you give them that person’s direct dial
number before putting them through.
11. If you have been told not to take messages on the switchboard but to put people
through to a voice mail system, explain to the caller that you are on the main
switchboard and the person they need to speak to will receive the message more
quickly if it is left on voice mail.
If the caller does not wish to leave a message on an automated system, you will
waste time trying to persuade them. It is better to take a brief message yourself,
making sure that you include the following points:
Name of caller
Caller’s organization
Contact telephone number
Who the message is for
Reason for call/subject
Best time to return the call (if the caller is from a
different time zone, calculate the time difference)
Date and time of call
Your own name
Reproduced from 50 Training Activities for Administrative, Secretarial
and Support Staff by Elizabeth Sansom and Christine Newton, HRD Press
Worksheet 23-1
(1 of 1)
Personal Action Plan
When I answer the switchboard in the future, I will pay particular attention to the
following:
1. __________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
2. __________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
3. __________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
4. __________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
5. __________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________

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