speaking on the telephone featured
speaking on the telephone featured
speaking on the telephone front
speaking on the telephone front


A good “telephone voice” is sometimes spoken of as if it were an exceptional gift.

In reality, clear telephone speech can be acquired by almost anyone, with very little effort. There is nothing laborious or difficult about it. All that is necessary is contained in this short pamphlet, prepared as a result of renewed public interest in the subject.

Do not be misled by regarding the suggestions give as obvious. Make certain that you observe them in practice. You may be sure that, if you do, your friends will hear you with easy.

Speak into the mouthpiece and keep close to it

The fist essential for good telephone conversation is to speak close to the mouthpiece of the transmitter and directly into it.

If you move away from the mouthpiece, far more than a proportionate volume of sound will be lost without reaching the telephone; the instrument can only transmit the sounds which reach it.

You know from experience that you need to keep the telephone receiver close to your ear. It is equally necessary, in the interest of the person listening at the other end of the line, to keep the mouthpiece as close as possible to your mouth and directly in front of it – not more than an inch away. This is true both of the pedestal type of telephone and of the hand-microphone, do not let the mouthpiece slip down towards your chin.

In the course of a call you may have to turn away from the telephone in order to make a note or refer to aa paper or to another person. If you do, try to remember that you have moved and do not resume the conversation while you are still out of position. The telephone should always  be conveniently place for easy speaking. On a table or desk it should be within easy reach and clear of papers. If you are right-handed, it should be to your left, so that you may hold the receiver in your left hand and have your right hand free. If you find it necessary to use both hands or to strain your neck or body, your telephone is badly placed and should be moved.

Speak naturally, clearly and rather slowly

BT special range the Classic
BT special range the Classic

If you keep close to the mouthpiece there is little need to raise your voice; but you must speak clearly. In particular, sound your consonants distinctly. They are apt to be blurred in the telephone transmission, and therefore need greater precision than in ordinary speck. A little care with your consonants will save your correspondent trouble – an act of courtesy – and help to prevent mistakes.

A medium level of tone, at a low pitch rather than a high, is the most serviceable.

Speak with reasonable deliberation. Give the vowels their full ordinary value. Do not allow the voice to drop at the end of a sentence.

Special hints for telephoning number, names and exceptional words


Give the vowel sounds their full ordinary value and emphasise the consonants.

Some numbers are apt to sound very much alike on the telephone unless special care is taken, thus, 5 is often confused with 9, and 8 with o. Confusion can be best avoided by pronouncing these numbers as follows: –

‘o’ as ‘OH’ with a long ‘O.’

‘5’ as ‘FIFE’ emphasising the second consonant ‘F.’

‘8’ as ‘ATE’ with a long ‘A’ and emphasising the consonant ‘T’

‘9’ as ‘NINE’ with long ‘I’ and emphasising the second consonant ‘N.’

GPO always at your service
GPO always at your service

When it is necessary to spell a word, a system of analogy, similar to the following, which is used by the Post Office, may be found useful for the purpose of verifying letters.

A – Andrew N – Nellie
B – Benjamin O – Oliver
C – Charlie P – Peter
D – David Q – Queenie
E – Edward R – Robert
F – Frederick S – Sugar
G – George T – Tommy
H – Harry U – Uncle
I – Isaac V – Victor
J – Jack W – William
K – King X – Xmas
L – Lucy Y – Yellow
M – Mary Z – Zebra

If you desire further information on the subject, the exchange Supervisor will be glad to be of assistance.

Here is a PDF to the scanned document.
GPO speaking on the telephone

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