Whether you are working from home or a busy office, it is easy to feel under pressure when taking telephone calls.

There is something about a telephone conversation that can put you on the spot. Perhaps it is the lack of visual input because you can’t see each other’s faces or body language.

In a face to face conversation, you can frown or look up to show that you are thinking about your response. On the telephone, there is just silence, so there can be a tendency to keep talking to bridge the gap.

It is important to keep a clear head in a telephone conversation. Give yourself time to think, especially if you are being asked to give out any personal data, even to confirm or deny information that relates to clients, customers or colleagues.

A useful tip to get a minute or two to think is to say that you need to check the situation with a colleague or manager. Another good tip, if you are in doubt as to whether or not you should pass on information, is not to do it. Ask the caller to put their request in writing, on headed notepaper if it is an organisation rather than an individual.

Trust your instincts. You will know the routine data disclosures that are made as part of your job. So, if a request is out of the ordinary, that is enough to warn you that you should take extra care in your responses.

Article courtesy of Mandy P Webster, Data Protection Consulting Limited

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