Telephone Calls-Love Them or Hate Them

How do telephone calls relate to being happy at work?  Do you dread making calls, hate listening to others talk on the phone, or hate wasting time listening to voice mail?  

Today with so many cell phone users calling from just about anywhere we know more than we want to know about strangers and colleagues.  We get to listen to multiple people making and receiving calls every day. Yuk! I am appalled by the number of people who speak loudly on their cell phones in a public setting.

In the office, I have over-heard many calls done on a speakerphone.  It is distracting and makes me less productive. This lack of consideration does not help to make employees happy at work. Some employees find making calls challenging.  This is the part of the job they do not like and obviously it interferes with their being happy at work.  Here are 10 tips for using the telephone that will help you to be happy at work.

  1. Private Place – It is best to make your call from a place where there are no distractions.  The place should be quiet-no background noise.  If you need to take notes on the call, be sure to have pen and paper available.  You want to be able to concentrate completely on what the other person is saying.
  2. Be Friendly to the Person Who Answers – Secretaries and assistants are doing their job.  Befriend them and they’ll make your work easier.  Antagonize them and your call may be ignored.  A smile can be heard when you talk so to keep the call friendly and upbeat and be sure to smile.
  3. Have a Short Introductory Speech Prepared – When you are calling someone who does not know you, once you reach that person, introduce yourself telling who you are and the reason for the call.  If you know the person, be sure to start the conversation with your name and the purpose of the call.
  4. Request Permission to Speak – After the introductory speech be sure to ask the person if they have time to talk to you at that moment.  You might give the person an idea of how long you think the conversation will last.  If the person doesn’t have time to talk then, schedule an appointment to call back when the person does have time to talk with you.  I’m on the phone a lot in my business.  If I get your call between scheduled calls, I may not have enough time to listen to you when you call me.
  5. Leave Your Telephone Number At The Beginning and End Voice Mail Message– Sometimes you may want to leave a voice mail so the person can call you back.  (This is probably not a great option when you are calling someone for the first time.)  Be sure to keep your message short and leave your call back number both at the beginning and end of the voice mail message.  I just hate it when someone leaves me a long message and a phone number at the end.  If I don’t have a pen to write down the number when I first listen, then I have to listen to that whole long thing AGAIN!
  6. Keep Your Message short and Remember Voice Mail is Not Private – When leaving a voice mail message keep it short.  The substance of the call should be saved for the intended recipient.  Since people often have secretaries and admin people check their voice mail, confidential information should never be left on a voice messaging system.  Someone who gets large numbers of voice messages will thank you for being brief and to the point!
  7. Make Outbound Calls in the Morning – Take an hour each morning to do all your outbound calling. This is the time when you are fresh and alert.  Let people know the specific times you are available for the return call if you do not reach them when you call. People who dread making telephone calls can get it done first thing and have the rest of the day to do the work they enjoy!
  8. Make Your Own Calls – Some people try to save time by having a secretary dial the number and then pass the call to them.  This gives the impression to the called party that the caller is very important and is too busy to dial a call.  This seems pretentious to me and can be intimidating to the person receiving the call.
  9. Never Use a Speaker Phone Unless You Ask Permission – If you are not in a private office don’t use the speaker phone at all.  Having someone in an open cubical use the speaker phone is very distracting to everyone around. (It’s similar to having to listen to someone’s cell phone conversation. It is rude to the called party and the people around the caller.)  Even when you are in a private office get permission from the called person to be put on a speaker phone.  The person may want to be assured that no one else is in the office.  Often the sound is different when the caller is on a speaker phone.  The sound may make it more difficult for the other party to understand the caller.
  10. Consider Using Email Instead – Sometimes it is quicker to use email to set up a call or to deliver the message.  The disadvantage of email is that it is not secure.  It also leaves a paper trail which you may or may not want.  The advantage is that it may be a more efficient way to use your time.

Final tip:  Ask people how they prefer to be contacted.  I’ve had people tell me they never listen to their voice mail.  Others tell me they get so many texts it is best to email them.  Use their preferred method if you want to reach them.

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Feeling overwhelmed by all that is expected of you at work?  A coach can help you to set priorities and boundaries, so your work becomes more manageable.  I’d love to help you overcome overwhelm.  Call or email me, Alvah Parker at 781-598-0388 or asparker@asparker.com.

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