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Your Telephone Voice

Completion requirements

The volume of your voice is extremely important when talking over the telephone. You must speak loudly enough to be heard so that the caller will not need to ask you to repeat your message. Do not speak so loudly that the caller must hold the receiver away from their ear. Speak at a conventional level of volume and speak directly into the receiver while holding it a few centimetres away from your mouth. During your conversation, it is important to use slightly different degrees of loudness for emphasis.


The rate of speech or duration refers to the length of time the sound is prolonged. A normal rate of speech is 125 words per minute. If you speak any faster, it may be difficult for the caller to keep up with your message. If you speak too slowly, you may not keep the caller’s interest. To control the rate of speech, concentrate on slowing down and making distinct sounds that will help you avoid running words together.


Pitch refers to the highness and lowness of the voice. A pleasant voice is neither one that is too high nor too low. Changes in pitch, called inflection, help to emphasise thoughts and reflect emotions. Inflection is categorised as rising, falling or circumflex. A rising inflection indicates surprise or questioning, such as “You did what?” A falling inflection suggests finality or certainty, as in the statement, “Well done.” Circumflex is a combination of rising and falling and expresses hesitation or doubt: “No-o-o.” It is important to vary the tone of your voice as you talk over the telephone. Identify key information you may want to emphasise and use appropriate inflections. Avoid talking in monotone.


An individual who can articulate well and has proper diction can enhance their credibility over the telephone. Articulation, sometimes called enunciation, refers to the precision and clarity one uses in uttering sounds. Pronunciation, on the other hand, is the traditional and recognised way of uttering words. Identify those times you have difficulty pronouncing certain words or selecting the right words to communicate your message and plan an alternative way for presenting the information.

Attitude and Enthusiasm

Communicate to your caller that you really care about the reason they called and that you want to help. Your voice is a powerful means of conveying attitudes, convictions and emotions, especially over the telephone. Using a voice that communicates indifference or irritation with the caller is the quickest way to lose your customer forever.