The first golden rule of telequette is to sound natural. Be yourself. Remember it is you who has to reach across the phone lines. I have seen a few people who sound horribly artificial on the phone. They put on all kinds of accents and stylish twangs and end up sounding a mess. Their conversation starts off very stylish a la mode and ends up flat as they can't carry off artifice for long. Be natural, be yourself and your conversation won't sound contrived. Next time you pick up the phone, ask yourself whether you tend to put on any artificial airs and start from there.
Next is the volume at which you speak. Are you loud enough for the person to hear without a phone? Or so soft that he has to strain his ears? Some people tend to speak so loud that I have to hold the earpiece a mile away and still listen very clearly. Better still I never have to repeat the conversation to the folks around. They know it all. Remember to keep your voice even not too loud, not too soft. Just loud enough so that the person at the other end hears you without straining and just soft enough as not to risk his becoming deaf.
Next thing to remember is to be clear on the phone. Speak concisely and clearly. Stay to the point. As there is no face to face dealing, clarity is the means by which you can rest assured that you deliver what you meant to with out leaving the other end in a state of confusion. If it is an important call, make sure to make a list of all the things you want to say and keep it close at hand and then tick off each item as you progress. This way you can make sure that you said all that you have to and avoid a follow up call which creates a very bad impression. Worse still if it's a business call and you are out to make an impression. Forewarned is half impression made.
Unless it is someone very close to you keep the duration of the call short and strictly just as much as required. There is nothing more irritating than a mere acquaintance (probably even the face can't be recalled) yapping away on the phone for hours. The mind then simply drifts away from the conversation and meanders on to pleasanter things. Beware you are in strict danger of being dubbed a "bore" or worse yet a person who "sucks up to everyone" . Learn to understand when you are losing the attention of the person you are talking to. Keep the call interesting and to the point and people won't dread your call.
Whoever you are calling up, it is not okay to disturb them at awful timings like say at 10 in the night or 6 in the morning or when you do know the person is going to have his dinner. The time may be normal enough for you but give some respect for the other person's style of living too. There is nothing more irritating than groping for the phone when you still groggy with sleep or being jerked awake by the ring when you have just managed to fall asleep. Save such calls for the really urgent and important matters those with can't really wait. And this includes even the calls to your best buddy or even your family.
When you are attending to a phone call, do just that. "Attend" to it. Don't have your washing machine, music player and hair dryer all on at one go. The person called YOU up not the sundry electronic appliances in your house. I have a friend who keeps saying "please hold on a sec' and then disappears to attend to something else like say switch off the gas. By the time she comes back we forget what we were discussing and the drift of the conversation is lost. Avoid this by all means. There is nothing as boring as listening to a silent phone line. Keep doing this and you might soon find that your phone always remains silent.
Be Proactive that is an active participant in the conversation. Don't keep saying "Umm"s or "ok"s or "ya"s in the phone line. this makes it a monologue instead of a conversation and shows disinterest on your part. The other person is bound to be tired of hearing his own voice and will hang up soon. These are what I term the seven golden roles of telequette. Ofcourse there are many more and you can keep on adding to the list. A smart way would be to note what things in people irritate you on the phone and make sure that you keep away from them yourself.