Phoning It In

As an office PA, if you’re not driving somewhere, you’re probably answering the phone. What surprises me is how many office PAs aren’t doing it right.

To be perfectly honest, I do this at least once a day.
Pictured above: sophisticated political humor

Here’s a little refresher for those of you who think “Yeah?” is a perfectly acceptable salutation.

When answering the phone, the correct greeting is, “[Show Title], this is [Your (First) Name].” Or even, “[Show Title] production office, this is [Your Name].” If you leave out your name, nine times out of ten, the person on the other end will ask you for it.

(Sometimes, when both office PAs are busy, a higher-up will answer a ringing phone with a simple, “Production.” They do this to give the impression that they are far too busy to say the full name of the show, and are quite annoyed that the PAs have the nerve to be away from their desks, doing tasks assigned by the very same higher-up. This is still not an appropriate greeting for a PA.)

Frequently, the caller will ask if so-and-so is in the office. Do not answer “Yes,” even if So-And-So is standing right next to you. Instead, say, “Let me see if So-And-So is available.” If So-And-So doesn’t want to speak with the caller, it’s easier to say he’s occupied, since you’ve already established uncertainty as to his availability. (And you told your 9th grade Humanities teacher you’d never have any use for foreshadowing.)

If you have to put someone on hold or transfer them, don’t say “Just a second.” Why? Because it won’t be a second. While we’re on the subject, it won’t be a minute, either. What you say is, “Just a moment.”

I think that covers the basics. And if I forgot anything, hey, I have a blog topic for tomorrow!

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14 Responses

  1. In my production office we answer the phone, “Production this is [name]”, because we get all sorts of calls from people cold-calling to see what show we are. We leave the name out to protect our anonymity.

    Also, if you’re taking a message always get a number! Always.

  2. Only other comment would probably be: take as long as you need to get the person’s exact name down to the spelling (especially if they’re leaving a message). Doesn’t matter if you have to ask like ten times; don’t settle for less, or you have multiple parties angry with you when the boss doesn’t recognize the name you wrote down because you heard it wrong and weren’t thorough.

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