Phone etiquette does not come naturally to most kids. It needs to be taught. Here are some very basic rules for talking on the phone.
It will also help Cub Scouts working on improving their manners. Even Scouts BSA can benefit from reviewing these guidelines from time to time, especially when it comes time to call a merit badge counselor.
When you answer the phone
- If your parents are not home, know beforehand what you should do. Some parents prefer you answer and say something like “My mom isn’t available right now. May I have her call you back?” Or your parents might prefer you don’t answer the phone at all.
- Some parents like their children to answer something like, “Smith residence, this is Johnny” or “Hello, this is Johnny”, while others prefer their children just say “Hello”. Find out how your parents would like you to answer the phone.
- If the caller gives you a message to give to somebody else, make sure you tell the message to the other person as soon as possible. Write down the caller’s name and phone number.
- If you have company, or there is some other reason you can’t talk to the other person, say “I’m sorry. I can’t talk right now. Can I call you back?” Make sure you do call the other person back as soon as you are able.
- Let the person who called you end the conversation.
When you call somebody
- Dial the number carefully.
- Let the phone ring long enough for the person to answer it.
- If the call is answered by a machine, leave your name, phone number, and a short message telling who you are trying to reach and why you want to talk to them.
- Identify yourself right away by saying “This is Johnny”. Don’t make the person on the other end guess who is calling.
- If you dialed a wrong number, say “I’m sorry”. Don’t just hang up.
- Ask the person you called if this is a good time to talk. If they are busy, arrange to call them later.
For all phone conversations
- Speak clearly
- Speak loud enough that the person on the other end can hear you, but don’t shout
- Remember your manners. Use courteous words like “Please”, “Thank you”, and “Excuse me”.
- Don’t interrupt when the other person is speaking.
- Don’t be distracted by things going on around you. Pay attention to the conversation.
- Don’t forget to say “Goodbye” at the end of the conversation.
- Hang up the phone gently.