Friday, October 30, 2009


If we were to put a group of random professionals in a room and asked them what their top three business pet peeves are surely the unreturned phone call would be in their short list.

Ironic, since the telephone was created with the hope of improving communication, not making it more frustrating.

"An amazing invention-but who would ever want to use one?" --Rutherford B. Hayes, after making his first phone call upon its invention

Personally, the unreturned phone call is in my top three most disliked habits when dealing with people in a personal or professional level. Although, I am the first to say mea culpa for my own behavior which can, at times, be less than exemplary. But this behavioral flaw is constantly under my radar and I am working on improving. I find that one of the best potions against the forgotten call is keeping each other accountable in the office, forming unofficial alliances if you will.

"People who are funny and smart and return phone calls get much better press than people who are just funny and smart." --Howard Simons

One of the cloudy areas, where phone call responsibility often gets lost, is the confusing way in which we sometimes approach the "I'll call you/you'll call me?" moment. This could be because we are rushed, experience pangs of first-date-nerves, or simply have our heads already in the next meeting. So, just like one is to be in the moment when first meeting someone, one must remain in the moment until the time comes to bid farewell. This means, setting clear expectations of who will call whom and by what time/date. Don't be wishy-washy about this and take control of the situation by recapping when necessary.

You can hit all the right buttons during a business meeting. Be concise, focused, engaging. charming, cool, calm and collected, but if you don't follow up as promised an uphill battle awaits you. Don't undermine yourself.

"If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me."--Jimmy Buffet

It is said that people will forget many things about you, your clothes, your hair, even your handshake, but they will always remember how you made them feel. At the risk of walking the slippery high-rope of the Feelings Territory, while momentarily stepping away from Manly Man County, I'll be the first to say it: an unreturned phone call can make others feel disrespected and under appreciated. This, needless to say, won't make things easier the next time you are trying to close a deal with said individual & it surely won't get you unsolicited recommendations. So make life easier for you, and others, and don't be a Parrothead, or at least not when it comes to business.

"The telephone is a good way to talk to people without having to offer them a drink."--Fran Lebowitz

Lastly, when you are returning that call as promised, remember to not get distracted with other office issues. Act, that is talk and listen, as if the call's recipient was there with you. In other words, act as if you could offer them a drink. Body language can be read on the phone almost as much as in person, and it is just as impactful. I think we all can use that reminder, so perhaps this is as good a time as ever to refresh your team's memory about making those call backs, not being a parrot head, and having that metaphorical drink ready to be offered during their next call.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just like the valuable information you provide to your articles.
I'll bookmark your weblog and test once more right here frequently.
I am quite certain I'll bbe informed many new stuff
proper right here! Best of luck for the following!

My blog poswt privilege Insurance Contact

web analytics tool