How to convey that you are the person they are asking for
I think the main reason for the confusion is not the initial greeting, but the "Yes?" It's unclear whether you mean "Yes, go ahead" or "Yes, I'll just go get him for you," which is why you're getting that split-second hesitation as they try to work out what you meant.
The normal way of replying when they have asked to speak to you is to say, "Speaking."
This can be short:
"Can I speak to John Smith, please?"
"Ah, hi John. Can you help me with...?"
"Can I speak to John Smith, please?"
"John Smith speaking. How can I help you?"
"I was actually looking for information about..."
You could also substitute in
This is John Smith.
You've reached John Smith.
instead of the "John Smith speaking." above.
How to answer the phone professionally
As to your actual question, a common way of answering the phone in a professional environment would be:
Good morning/afternoon. ABC Systems, John speaking. How can I help?
Sometimes people just say
Good morning/afternoon. ABC Systems.
and this is also acceptable, but the "How can I help?" sounds more approachable to the customer in my opinion.
If you are a bigger company with lots of branches you might also add the location:
Good afternoon. ABC Systems Edinburgh. How can I help?
You could substitute Hi instead of "Good morning" if you are more comfortable with that; sounding comfortable and friendly is most important.
Bear in mind that even if you say "John speaking" or "John Smith speaking", they might not catch your name and will still ask to speak to John Smith. Then you just follow the advice in my first section.
Answering the phone on a direct line
From the fact that you said people were asking for you by name I assumed you were answering the main phones. In this instance, you are the face of the company and need to be more formal and accommodating.
If, however, you're answering a direct line to you only, you can answer a bit differently.
For an external call, I'd still use the company name and your name - it's a way of letting the caller know they've reached the right place (or the wrong one!). You could drop the time-of-day greeting and the "How can I help?" though if you prefer. As I mentioned, those are more for when you are the "face of the company".
ABC Systems, John speaking.
or even simply
Hello, this is John.
For an internal call (which usually have a different ringing sound - ask someone if you don't know the difference between the different phone tones), you obviously wouldn't use the company name. "Hello?" would probably be fine for an internal call as well, especially in a small company.
A few more tips
A lot of this varies depending on the work environment, your company, and the type of people who ring you. You will have to use judgement as to how much of a greeting to use.
If you're still unsure, I would recommend:
- Listening to how other people in your company answer the phone and the level of formality that they use. This helps you determine what the company culture is like and what's appropriate. You don't need to say exactly the same as them, but it should give you a rough guide if you're unsure.
- Listening to how customers greet you on the phone. If it's mostly people you've met in person, they'll probably be more familiar than strangers you've never spoken to before. If the majority of your callers are one or the other you can adjust your phone manner accordingly.
As I mentioned in the opening section, I think it's the "Yes?" not the "Hello?" that's the problem, so if you wanted to stick with the "Hello" and simply change how you communicate that you are the person they've asked for, that would probably be fine.