Via Hacker News, a brief justification f…

Via Hacker News, a brief justification for using “Hello” on the telephone.

You want some extension, say 432. You dial the main number, and the receptionist answers with the usual, “Good morning” or “Columbo Wigmakers, how may I help you?”. You answer, “432.” The receptionist says, “I’m sorry, what extension was that?”

Anecdotally, I can confirm this. After years of callers that took thirty seconds to figure out they had the wrong number, I decided to just start introducing myself by name when I got a call from an unknown number.

But I found that being as brief as possible actually ended up being counter-productive: just picking up and saying “Hober Short, here.”* was too brief. It didn’t give enough of a vocal baseline for the person on the other end of the phone to be able to decipher my speech.

After some experimentation, I’ve settled on “Hello, this is Hober Short.” Almost without exception, that elicits a response of “Oh, I’ve got the wrong number. Sorry. [click]”

In this case, it actually turns out that by adding a few “baseline” words, I make myself more understandable and get back to whatever I was doing quicker than if I’d left them off.


*Obviously, I don’t actually answer phone calls like this.

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