Physical and phone reception- Isobel IRVINE



Body Language

Body orientation (relaxed, open position), physical appearance, the look, a nod of the head, smiles are of prime importance

     - a steady look accompanied by nods will inspire empathy,             sympathy, courtesy and confidence in your interlocutor


The voice

  • Your voice transmits energy. The tone of your voice represents 80% of the impact of your message.
  • Smile as you talk – note the difference in tone and energy when you smile!


Diplomatic language

  • I hear what you’re saying, but I don’t agree. = opposition + conflict
  • I hear what you’re saying, it’s simply that I think differently. = acceptation of the other person + exchange


            simply                                                           but

            wish                                                   need

            investment                                       expense

            question                                           problem

            budget                                              cost

            we agree                                           no problem

            this file is to be completed             this file is incomplete

            the points to review                        the negative points                        



Active listening

  • People only retain 10% of what they hear.
  • Why??
    • - Because there are 7 levels in verbal communication.

What I want to say

What I actually say

What the other person hears

What the other person actually listens to

What each speaker understands

What information is assimilated

What the other person retransmits

  • So, in view of that (10%), it’s clear that careful listening is a key factor in a successful exchange
  • The key to good communication is listening without interrupting
  • Physically, your attitude should be open and receptive.
    • Face your interlocutor
    • Eyes fixed on him
    • An attitude of empathy
    • On a basis of equality


How to really listen?


  • Means repeating in your own words what you think you have heard.
  • Means reflecting the thoughts of your interlocutor, who recognises himself and hears what he said himself.

- After your reformulation, your interlocutor will say « yes » and you know you’re on the same wavelength. Bingo!

  • Asking questions : After reformulation in your own words you can ask questions
    • To encourage someone who is shy or not very articulate
    • To check mutual understanding
    • To give yourself time to think
    • To direct your interlocutor to the essential points



Handling difficult calls

You can’t avoid conflictual situations, but you can learn how to handle them.

            Your objective is to make the caller feel

            > reassured

            > they have been listened to

            > you care


Golden rules for difficult calls

  • Stay calm and professional
  • Never raise your voice or react with emotion or the situation will escalate
  • Allow the caller to express their emotion without interrupting them
  • Above all, don’t tell them to « calm down »
  • Listen hard to get the details
  • Acknowledge the facts and show empathy
  • Clarify the facts by reformulating patiently and positively and try to get a « yes » from the caller
  • You may need to ask questions for clarification, but explain why you need to ask these extra questions
  • Respond when the emotion has defused
  • Focus on what you can do to solve the situation using a positive and optimistic tone of voice
  • Make no promises you can’t keep!


What is empathy?

It means putting words on what you perceive as the dominant emotion of the other person

                       asking your interlocutor what he needs

                       understanding his point of view without modifying it.

The effect of empathy is increased self esteem of your interlocutor and better communication between you. 


Leave an open door so the caller isn’t left with a nasty impression

Suggest how the caller can resolve the problem

Be clear firm and sure of yourself

You have the right not to know

Give reasons to explain the refusal

Express yourself on behalf of your company

Be positive and insist on what is possible

Use empathy as always and be assertive



We use our eyes to hear the words spoken.

  • 7% of information is conveyed by the sense of the actual words.
  • 38% from the way they are said.
  • 55% from the facial expression.

Body language

  • Body orientation (relaxed, open position), physical appearance, the look, a nod of the head, smiles are of prime importance
    • A steady look accompanied by nods will inspire empathy, sympathy, courtesy and confidence.
    • If you don’t look at your interlocutor, but avoid meeting his eyes because of nervousness, the result will be distrust.
  • When your body is in the open position you transmit warmth and receptiveness
  • Your interlocutor connects with you

Careful of your posture

A vertical position transmits competence and inspires trust

Shoulders collapsed communicates vulnerability and uncertainty

People who walk with a determined step and swinging arms seem to have a precise goal


The art of communication

  • The Parent – Adult – Child model
  • Being assertive
  • Passivity, Manipulation and aggressivity
  • Accepting Criticism
  • The broken record



Allows you to manage conflicts, give yourself realistic objectives, face up to unjustified aggression, find compromises, say no, accept that you cant please everybody



  • If you’re passive, you adopt a flight attitude, avoiding people and events.
  • The consequences are lack of self respect and, ultimately, suffering.
  • Characteristics of a passive person :
  • Dealing with passivity --> Show you value the person’s contribution using the skills we already know :-
    • Listening closely
    • Reformulating
    • Questioning
    • Summarizing
    • Show that you value their point of view throught verbal and non-verbal communications such as smiling, nodding, good eye contact and encouraging language.
    • BUT – don’t take responsibility for decisions which should be made by them.


The manipulator

  • Characteristics of a manipulator :
  • Flatters, seduces
  • Exaggerates, makes you feel guilty
  • Intimidates, blackmails
  • Is Machiavelic -

Sometimes you don’t even

guess you’re being manipulated

  • Dealing with the manipulator: You can’t ignore them or delete them, although this is the best strategy.
  • They won’t tolerate correction, so don’t try.
  • Use your usual communication skills
  • And trust your own judgement.



Key characteristics :

  • Attack
  • Violence
  • Talks loud
  • Impolite
  • contradictory

Dealing with agressive clients : Stay calm

  • Don’t raise your voice
  • Be careful of your body language
  • Don’t enter his physical space
  • Listen without interrupting
  • Ask questions
  • Find a solution


Know how to receive criticism

  • Don’t try to justify yourself through guilt
  • Don’t put the fault on someone else
  • Try to get over your embarrassment and disappointment with yourself
  • This will allow you to
  • Decrease conflict
  • Reduce anger in the other person who is criticising you
  • Find a solution more rapidly


Making a criticism

  • You have a difficult message to communicate, but don’t attack.

                       Use the DESC method

D for describe the facts « I note ………… 

E for express your emotions with empathy « the result is ..

S for suggest solutions « I suggest……….. 

C for consequences/settlement « that will allow to ………