Nfld. & Labrador

Telephone etiquette makes a comeback in the era of Snapchat

We've come a long way with phone technology since Alexander Graham Bell first spoke to Watson in 1876, but a Halifax businesswoman says we need a solid refresher on honing our telephone skills.
Mary Jane Copps, who founded The Phone Lady 10 years ago, has been in St. John's facilitating training sessions to businesses on how to get back to communicating by voice — specifically by phone. (Submitted)

We've come a long way with phone technology since Alexander Graham Bell first spoke to Watson in 1876, but a Halifax businesswoman says we need a solid refresher on honing our telephone skills.

'There's information in the sound of the human voice, that we can't get any other way.' - Mary Jane Copps

Mary Jane Copps, who founded a consulting business called The Phone Lady 10 years ago, was recently in St. John's facilitating training sessions to businesses on how to get back to communicating by voice — specifically by phone.

Copps told the St. John's Morning Show that the telephone is already considered old tech among younger workers. 

"Younger generations became surprised when they were asked to talk on the phone," said Copps.

Slow down and enunciate

 In our world of instant communication, Copps said nothing can replace the human voice for expressing more than just basic information.

"There's information in the sound that we can't get any other way," she said in an interview. 

"So as most of us have experienced, when we're communicating strictly by text, we can have a lot of miscommunications or misunderstandings," she said.

Direct contact by voice can save time, and smooth out problems before they even develop. 

"Things can take longer. As you go back and forth by text, and there are gaps or stops in the communications, it can take longer just to decide where you're going to go for lunch than if you picked up the phone and made a plan," she said. 

Copps aims to help businesses and organizations understand how to be more effective communicators. 

"Today people are really intimidated by using the phone, picking it up. If you're intimidated or you haven't used it for quite a while, start by calling people you already know," Copps said. 

"With startups who are intimidated, what I often tell them is, this weekend call your friends — don't text them. Get familiar with the technology."

With files from the St. John's Morning Show