Growth September 15, 2010 36 Reads share

Creating Great Body Language Over The Phone

In my last Bloggertone article I talked about Professor Albert Mehrabian, a pioneer behind the understanding of communications, since the 1960s, is responsible for the widely quoted statistic which says that in any form of communication only 7% of the message are the words that are spoken. The other 93% of the message is made up of the tone of voice and facial expression/body language.

Taking this research into account you can see just how incredibly difficult it is to be an effective communicator over the phone. This really comes into play when the content being discussed is highly emotive. However in today’s modern business world we can’t avoid using the phone, and we need to develop skills to compensate for the absence of body language.

Below are some of my hints/tips for creating great body language while on the phone.

  1. Vary the pace, tone and pitch to fit the content. Talk slower and calmer if the message is serious. Talk a little faster, more enthusiastically and lighter when the message is more upbeat.
  2. Respond vocally to comments and questions. Reflective listening with prompts like “a-ha”, “hmm”, “yes” or “I see”, will let the people who are speaking know that you are listening.
  3. Use a head-set with a microphone. This will free your hands and body, giving you more room to express yourself.
  4. Stand up when speaking on the phone. If you don’t need to be at your computer screen, get up and walk around. You’ll sound more enthusiastic, and it’s a great way to transmit body language via your voice. If you must sit down, then sit up straight and remain attentive.
  5. The most important tool you have when on the phone is your voice. Consider vocal exercises to improve the quality and range of your voice. A voice with good vocal range is much easier to listen to, than one which is dull and mono-tone.
  6. Focus on your breathing. It’s good practice to learn some breathing exercises that you can use prior to the start of a call where you will do a lot of speaking. This is really helpful before a really important call, where you might be a bit nervous.

I hope you find these tips useful. Are you using them today? If so perhaps you can share examples of where they have helped you. Do you have any additional tips that you’d like to share? Please let us know by leaving a comment.

The views expressed on this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, Oracle.

Image credited to

Frank Bradley

Frank Bradley

I live in Kilkenny, Ireland, and I'm married with one daughter. I was born in Derry, and came to Kilkenny via Manchester, England, and Dublin. My passion is all things Social Media, and for the last 2 years I have been working as a Social Media Evangelist for Oracle, where I have worked for the last 8 years. This role entails, promoting the use of Social Media internally for improved communication and collaboration. My other interests include sports, especially football (soccer), reading, video games, movies/tv, music and walking.

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