Archive for the 'communication' Category

phone call bandaid

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Curious about Communication | Phone Calls and Voicemails, Part Three


An easy fix to a phone problem.

I found that people often avoided phone calls (making and receiving), mainly because phone calls take longer.

Even when I was interviewing people, I would email them and say, “it’s about a ten minute call and could we please set up an appointment?”

Everyone liked that idea, but the actual calls took longer.  Whenever I just jumped in with my communication questions, it came off wrong, like I was not interested in the person I was interviewing for anything other than their interview answers (which was not remotely true, since everyone I interviewed are fascinating, successful people).

We seem to be programmed to be nice.
We make chit chat, even when we are just setting up a meeting.
It just seems too terse when dealing with a live human.
So, here’s the solution.

When you answer the phone, don’t ask “how are you?”

Instead, ask
What can I do for you?”

The call will proceed directly into the issue at hand without seeming rude or abrupt.  You can be pleasant and productive at the same time.

Subtle ways to subliminally influence people

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Curious about Communication | Phone Calls and Voicemails, Part Two


Want to improve and even possibly look forward to your phone communications? Use phone appointments.

Benefits to phone appointments:

•  it sends a message that you and your time are precious (even if you are vegging out, watching tv, you don’t need people to know that)
•  you don’t have to keep your schedule open, waiting for a phone call that might happen in the next two or three hours
•  by dedicating one time slot in to a person, they will feel more important since you are devoting that time to them
•  it avoids phone tag and missed calls
•  you can use the ten minutes before the call to mentally prepare

Add an email for extra benefits:
In conjunction with email, send an email ahead of time with the points you will be covering.

•  Both parties can then prepare.  No hemming and hawing while people brainstorm during the call
•  It keeps the phone call on track, again saving time and avoiding tangents
•  It indicates that you are results-oriented (another great impression to make)

The joys of chunking

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Curious about Communication | Phone Calls and Voicemails, Part One


One of my own pet peeves is phone tag and having to listen to voicemails.
Phone can be an effective communication tool with some guidelines:

1)  short voicemails

Time is a premium.  Duh!

Quite often, people don’t even want to spend the time listening to your voicemail, especially if you’re using a lot of “ums” and “uhs” and talking about the weather and your cat’s hairballs.  While you may find think it’s entertaining, you’re losing your listener.  They’re standing there, with the phone to their ear, rolling their eyes and tapping their foot impatiently.

Especially if they’re at the Newark airport about to board a flight for London.

Most people just press “call back”.  They know you called, so they’ll call back to find out what you want to know, without bothering to listen to your voicemail.

With that in mind, here’s how to leave a short voicemail.  Just enough to prepare someone for your next interaction and also just enough that your yourself are not investing a whole bunch of time in it:

Calling a colleague
“Hi, this is So and So.
We recently met at the Such and Such Conference.
I’d like to discuss the Thing-A-Ma-Jig.
My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.
That’s xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Once again, my name is So and So.”

Calling a client
“Hi this is So and So.
Thanks for your interest in my business.
I’m available to discuss it further.
[maybe insert a congenial piece of information at this point, but avoid talking about hairballs]
My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.
That’s xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Once again, my name is So and So.

Calling a plumber
“Hi, my name is So and So.
I need my toilet fixed, fast.
My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.
That’s xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Once again, my name is So and So.”


2)  chunking

Cell phone reception is getting better, but most people still have a top speed that they can jot down your info.
That’s where chunking comes in.

Slow down (unless you’re about to miss the aforementioned flight to London).
Identify yourself.  State your name clearly at the beginning of the call.
Then, when saying your number, pause between each group of digits.
It’s almost sounds like a little poem if done right.
Avoid rattling off the number at warp speed.
It’s good to repeat the number.
Then repeat your name again.

Ta da!  You’re on your way to being an expert chunker.