There was this time when I had to clarify something with someone, and I decided to call her (instead of emailing her). So I dialled her number, and she picked up the phone almost immediately. I mean, I was still pulling reference material together, and I was actually counting on the phone ringing a couple of times to give me time. I was pushed off balance by the suddenness of her voice.
So I developed this habit of waiting for the phone to ring twice. Because when the first ring occurs, I have to mentally shift from my programming to being able to take calls. By the time I’m prepared to take the call, the second ring occurs. I then take the time to clear my throat (the last thing people want is to be greeted by a hoarse voice). And when the second ring finishes, I pick it up, grabbing a notepad and pen in the process to take down notes if required.
People expect the phone to ring.
Letting the phone ring a couple of times also gives you time to prepare yourself. It could be an important person on the line, and you are wasting the opportunity if you sound weak, hoarse and unprepared.
Why would you sound hoarse? From personal experience, because my job is mainly programming, I seldom need to converse. My throat starts to, uh, “coagulate”. After 3 to 4 hours of non-talking, I’m going to need to clear my throat.
Or if you happen to be eating something (a piece of chocolate, a biscuit/cookie or sweets), you are going to sound like someone talking with their mouth full. Which you are! The two phone rings are going to give you time to swallow that chocolate or push that sweet to your cheek so you can speak properly.
Add to the fact that you greet the other person on the line (you do greet with a “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” right?), the phone conversation will go a lot smoother.