Hints and Tips for Better Use

How to Speak

It is very tempting when using an automated system to speak either very slowly or very quickly. The Switchboard is designed to recognise natural speech, however as a guide we recommend speaking as if you were dictating your request to a human. Speak as you naturally would and at a steady pace. If you find the Switchboard is unable to match your request, try putting a very slight pause (about half a second) in between words.

John or Jonathan?

Many members of staff choose to be called by a shortened first name. The switchboard will recognise both an official first name and nominated ‘known as’ name. If you are having difficulties using a shortened name, try using the person’s full name. For example, Jonathan rather than John.

We strongly recommend updating your known as name via the below / above link should you choose to be called by anything other than your official first name:

Getting there faster

You do not have to listen to all the messages in full for the Switchboard to work. For example, if you know that you would like to search for a person, you can interrupt the first announcement and just press 1. Similarly, you can talk over the switchboard while it asks “Who would you like to speak to”.

Populating the Phone Directory

The automated switchboard will provide the best service if all members of staff are listed in the University phone directory. If you cannot find yourself or someone in your department contact your department's telephone list maintainer:


If you have any feedback on the automated switchboard or suggestions as to how it might be improved, please use the Feedback link in the left-hand column.