Think you can’t make a real connection during a short phone call? Think again! Whether you’re talking with a longtime customer or a potential client, creating a personal bond is a snap when you set your mind to it. Here are five connection-making tips to keep in mind during your next call:

Take an interest. When a caller reveals any tidbit of personal information, don’t let the opportunity for conversation pass you by. A caller’s offhanded mention of upcoming weekend plans, a child’s sporting event, a recent car repair, or, well, anything personal is a wonderful chance to show your interest and learn a bit more. It’s just this easy:

Next Tuesday won’t work for me — my son has a game that afternoon.

Oh, how fun! What kind of game?

He’s playing soccer. This season he’s the goalie…

Boring phone call, 0; Conversation and connection, Score!

Share a laugh. When you notice a caller chuckle, join in! If something tickles your funnybone during a call, don’t keep it to yourself! Laughter is the perfect way to create a bond with your caller, and results in all sorts of wonderful effects besides.

Ask specific questions. When you know a little about your caller, trade in basic questions (like “How are you?”) for more personal stuff: How was your vacation? Are you settling in to your new apartment? Did you catch the Ducks game last weekend? Specific questions show you care enough to pay attention to your callers, and that means a lot.

Skip the “hold” button. When you need a moment to look up information, treat callers to the lovely sound of your voice instead of placing them on hold. Not sure how to pass the time? If you can think of a personal question, ask away, and if not, go with a friendly standard like “How’s your Monday going?” Listening to 30 seconds of Canon in D might be nice for your caller, but a bit of friendly chitchat is sure to be music to a caller’s ears.

Give a compliment. When something about a caller strikes a chord with you, mention it, and use it as a jumping-off point to get to know that caller better.

You’re in Austin? That’s one of my favorite cities! How long have you lived there?

What a cool company name. How did you come up with it?

Giving a compliment is a great way to learn more about your caller and share a bit about yourself, and that’s just the kind of exchange that’s sure to make you and your company stand out.

Photo by Calil Souza