Even in the age of email, instant messenger and social networking we still need to use the telephone to communicate with people.
This week one of our VPs was telling me about a call he had recently from someone looking for work. The person called and got voice mail, which seemed to throw him off his train of thought. In addition to a garbled message, he apparently likes to talk to himself while he thinks and that really isn’t a good thing to do in this situation (actually in many situations) especially when the odd expletive seems to come to mind!
Something like that can happen to any of us … but is far less likely to happen if we take a few minutes to prepare. The amount of preparation will be determined by the importance or complexity of the call. If I need to make a call that is not “run of the mill”, to someone I want to impress, or where the subject is “touchy” then I might take a little longer to map out my thoughts.
Any formal communication … whether phone call, letter, email or a speech should have an opening, a body and a closing. When I think of it in that context I determine what I want to say (the body) and organise my thoughts/messages; then I consider whow to lead into the conversation and finally the closing is really a synopsis of what has been said.
By planning your call, you will sound more polished, your message will be heard and you have more chance of really communicating. If you try to think about your messages “on the fly” then you risk being less efficient.
One example of a phone call where this is absolutely necessary is the “cold call”. I sometimes debate with myself about the applicability of cold calls in today’s connected world, but generally I think there is still a place for cold calls … and some time ago I wrote a blog with some tips for cold calling. Many of those lessons of cold calling are very applicable to the calls we make every day.
So try planning a few calls to test it out. It is easy to do and you might surprise yourself with how effective it is.