Chapter 17. Managing the phone
Timing is everything. — Dan Millman
The phone can be a great tool or a terrible host
– especially when you feel compelled to answer every time it rings.
For maximum productivity,
you must keep the phone
in the proper role
so that you do not become dependent on whoever calls.
The best way to manage phone calls
is to let the administrative assistant screen all those calls,
otherwise put the phone on vibrate and voicemail mode.
There are very few calls
or messages that can’t wait
until you find it more convenient to handle them.
One of the reasons we are becoming slaves
to distraction is curiosity.
We can’t help wondering who’s texting us
or on the other end of the line.
The only way to overcome this distraction temptation
is to turn off your phone so you don’t hear it.
Whenever you meet
with your employees and subordinates,
with your boss or with a client,
put calls on hold.
Please turn off your cell phone.
Eliminate all distractions.
Rarely is something so important that it can’t wait
until another time.
Ten minutes of chatting with others
without interruption is more productive
than 30 or 40 minutes of in-chat phone calls.
You can call each person back when you’re done.
Group your calls
If you need to make multiple calls during the day,
do it at the same time.
Pick a time when you can turn off your devices
and focus on calling the important people on your list.
Write down the names,
and topics of the conversation you need to make.
Plan your calls as conscientiously
as you would with your boss.
If it’s an important call,
write down a schedule for the call
with a list of things to talk about.
Nothing is more frustrating than ending an important call
with a hard-to-reach person
that you forgot to mention an important point
because you forgot to write down your schedule.
Be polite and professional
When calling someone,
always ask: “Is it convenient for you to talk?”
Top leaders use this polite
and professional phrase to open a phone call,
even with calls that are pre-arranged and planned.
After all, if there’s a pressing issue coming up,
now might not be the right time to talk.
If you try to start the conversation now,
the other person won’t be able to pay attention.
So always ask:
“Is it convenient for you now?”
If the person you’re calling says it’s not the right time,
offer to call back later
or ask if they can suggest a more convenient time.
This is a simple way to show courtesy and respect,
and of course it will be appreciated.
Never assume that the person has time to talk to you right now,
even if you’ve made a deal with them before.
Avoid calling multiple times
Do your best to avoid calling each other multiple times.
Schedule phone appointments the same way
you would arrange in-person meetings at the office.
When you call someone,
leave a phone number
and a specific time you can answer the phone.
When someone else calls you
but you can’t pick up the phone,
let your secretary choose a convenient time to call back.
That time should be during business hours
when you are at the office
or can answer the phone in time.
Use your phone as a tool at work.
Hear and end calls quickly.
Let’s get straight to the point.
Be polite and friendly,
while also being practical and result-oriented.
The more prepared
and accurate you are about the timing
and content of your phone calls,
the faster you’ll get things done,
and the more productive you’ll be on every call.
It’s important to know what really matters in life.
and the ability to start anew. — Les Brown