Is it me or are we not equipping our kids when it comes to the art of conversation?
At the expense of sounding like a curmudgeon, I'm afraid modern technology is contributing to our children's lack of real time conversation skills. Our babies are products of the Digital Age where "talking" is limited to email, texting, instant messaging, blogging, hashtagging, Snapchatting, Instagramming or sharing/ranting/pontificating in the comments section.
But what happens when they have to talk to a human on the telephone?
Teaching a child how to use the phone isn't easy. Like anything, it takes practice. I recently read this article and gleaned some helpful tips (we grown-ups should take note, too):
Making a call
- Always say "Hello," speak your name and request. For example: "Hi Mrs. Jones, this is Caden. May I speak with Bobby, please?"
- If you need to leave a voicemail message, leave your name, the person you are trying to reach, and your telephone number. For example: "Hi, this is Caden. I'm leaving a message for Bobby. Could you please ask him to call me back? My phone number is [or "my mom's phone number is" -- if your child does not have his own phone].
- Don't mumble or leave a long, rambling message.
Answering the phone
- A simple "Hello" is all that's needed when answering a call.
- If a caller asks for a family member, a polite response is, "One moment please, may I tell her who's calling?"
- Don't scream out, "Hey Mom! You've got a call!" Say, "One moment please," put the phone down (or mute the volume) and let the family member know he or she has a call.
- If a child is home alone and a caller asks for a parent or family member, simply say, "She can't come to the phone right now, may I have her call you back?"
- Write down the name of the person calling, the time of the call and a return telephone number.
Other telephone courtesies
- Don't call too early in the morning or too late at night. To be safe, never before 9am and never after 9pm.
- If your call goes to voicemail, don't hang up. Leave a short message.
- Always end a telephone conversation by saying, "I have to go now. It was so nice talking to you."
Photo by Getty Images.
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