Did you know: The first prototype of greeting over the phone was ‘Ahoy!’ Imagine a business meeting starting with ‘Ahoy!’ (Seems like talking to the captain of ship)
Nowadays, we impulsively say ‘Hello’ whenever we meet someone. Let it be over the phone, email, or meeting in real-time; Hello is the most common and widely accepted word in the world.
Who knew a puny five-lettered word would become such a greeting sensation! The omnipresent word was rather a wrong pronunciation and was primarily used to seek attention like, “Hello! Can you hear me?” But the introduction of it in Mark Twain’s 1880 comic strip, ‘A Telephonic Conversation’ gained a positive widespread.
Who Should Say Hello First on the Phone?
Conversation over the phone is now an essential part of our life. Let it be for work, or catching up with a friend, calling someone finds its way through. ‘Calling’ has increased by many folds especially, in the last ten years. Therefore, ‘calling’ solely for formal necessity has been ruled over, we call someone even for the smallest of our needs. So, the etiquettes or formalities are often forgotten.
So, coming back to the question, when somebody calls you, should you say hello first or, the caller should? When you pick up the phone, you have to be the first one to say hello, to ensure that the connection is established, and then the caller introduces himself/herself.
Fun Fact: According to the Oxford Dictionary, the first published use of hello was in 1827 that is, much before the invention of the telephone.
If you answer with a hello first (as a receiver), the caller is now sure that the connection has been made properly and starts talking about the reason he/she has called. In case of an identified or personal call, this should be the protocol, but if it is a spam call or someone disturbing, it’s advised not to pick up.
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The History of Hello – Why Do We Say Hello?
The ‘Hello’ term is a modified form of hullo, halloo, etc which was not meant for grabbing someone’s attention (Hello, Are you there?) and not for greeting. The word was discovered much before the invention of the telephone.
Alexander Graham Bell introduced the telephone in the year 1876 which revolutionized the world of communication. The phone was not intended to be a device that would ring, more like a open line that should be used only for essential things like business. The greeting was decided to be Ahoy! by the creator.
You can learn the detailed history of hello from here.
Fun Fact: Familiar with The Simpsons cartoon show? Mr. Burns answers the phone by saying ‘Ahoy’ too.
Later, Thomas Edison (the inventor of light bulb) discovered the principle of recorded sound in 1877. His experiment consisted of a word named “Halloo!” which was shouted most probably to incite dogs or any sort of animals. His experiments continued the usage of ‘Halloo’ back and forth and slowly later became the compact ‘Hello!’
Common Mistake and Rumor about the Origin of Hello
It was considered Alexander Graham Bell patented the greeting of Hello in the name of her wife, Margaret Hello, thus declaring his eternal love for beloved. But this is completely a rumor as Bell married his pupil Mabel Hubbard in 1877 whereas, the patent of the machine was completed in 1876.
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Other Ways to Greet People on the Phone
There are many informal ways to greet people, the modest of all being ‘Hello.’ Hi and Hey are the other forms that are most commonly used nowadays. Also sometime back, Howdy was used instead of Hey, how are you doing? as well.
Also if we look at the latest trend, Wassup? or What’s up? short form of What is up with your life? is also used by the younger generation.
Some Basic Rules of Phone Etiquette
It might hit it off as the easiest of all things, just to pick up the call and talk, but it is not that simple. There is some basic etiquette we should follow:
1. Answering the Call:
First and foremost, you should try to answer the call as soon as possible and try to pick it up before three rings. That way, the caller is not kept on waiting for long, and the voicemail is avoided as well. If you are busy and can’t pick up the call, voicemail is the best option as you can answer at your own convenience.
After picking up, you should say hello first, so that the dialer understands that the connection is established. When you are on the caller’s end, you should wait for the receiver to say hello, and only then you should start your conversation.
2. Trying to Speak Clearly & Properly:
It’s one of the most fundamental things. You should try to speak vividly and in short so that the caller gets to understand your idea in a lesser time period. Don’t elaborate too much just keep it simple and short.
Always try to keep your language polite, respectful, and volume optimum. You don’t know when one gets offended or upset so it’s better to be kind and welcoming.
3. Listening Carefully and Taking down Notes:
When something important is being narrated by the caller, keep your ears open and don’t get distracted by any means. Also, it is better to take down notes of the important things that can’t be missed. In that way, you don’t forget any of those points.
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4. Asking Before Putting Someone to Hold:
It is the most essential point to keep in mind. No one wants to suddenly listen Your call is on hold and wait indefinitely, always ask the other person before putting them to hold. Try to avoid a second call when you are busy with someone, and if it’s really urgent, reassure the person how urgent it is. This makes things easier and the person doesn’t get angry as well.
5. Checking and Responding to Voicemails:
It is highly possible that while you are busy or taking a break, someone tries to contact you and it goes into voicemail mode. So, among them, some important messages may be present too. So regularly check for your voicemails to keep yourself updated. Also, it is rude not to return the voicemails. Thus, it is beneficial for you, and returning the calls puts you on the good side as well.
6. Try to Keep Things Brief:
As a caller, try to keep the things brief as the receiver might have work to do or is in the middle of something already, so it’s better to keep things short and simple so that the time expended is less for both sides.
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7. Never Record a Call:
Never ever try to record a call without permission, it’s a golden rule. It is not only technically illegal but also very rude to record without consent. That’s why Google has placed an automatic announcement whenever someone tries to record.
8. Avoiding Calls at Certain Places:
Try to avoid making or taking calls at places like bathrooms, hospital rooms, public transport, meetings, etc. This shows you are irresponsible and have no clue about where to talk from. It’s advised to talk from a quiet personal space where the connection is stable.
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9. When A Call is Dropped, The Caller Will Call Back
It is the responsibility of the caller to call back when the call is dropped irrespective of the fact who dropped. It’s only ended when the receiver ends the call.
10. Never Hang up on Receiver:
The receiver always gets to hang up the phone, if it’s a scam call or someone disturbing. The caller can never hang up the phone no matter what.
Some Common FAQs
1. Who should end the phone call first?
The caller should never ever hang up the call, it is the receiver who can end the phone call.
2. Who was Margaret Hello?
There is a rumor that the word Hello was given by Margaret Hello, the girlfriend of Alexander Graham Bell. But this is absolutely fake news, as there is no such person named Margaret Hello. He married his pupil, Mabel Hubbard.
3. What’s the real meaning of hello?
Hello originated from the word hullo, hallo which meant was meant to seek attention or act surprised.