It never ceases to amaze me that companies will spend vast amounts of money on leading-edge TECHNOLOGY and then fail to give their staff sufficient training so they can use it EFFECTIVELY. In addition, if these "technology" tools are not handled correctly, they can rob staff of their professionalism, thus limiting their sphere of influence.
A OVERLOOKED TOOL
Telephones are a case in point. Telephones have been around so long that North American business people take them for granted and seldom offer or seek TRAINING in this area. They forget the way the telephone is answered provides a one-second promo spot for themselves and their company. Here are some concerns I have with telephone handling and some action items.
LOOK AT YOUR PHONE’S FEATURES
Telephone experts say most people use only a fraction of their phone's features. Check to see if a MANUAL is available and then learn how to use everything your phone has to offer. Even if you add only one or two new FEATURES to your telephone "know-how" -- such as forwarding a message or transmitting a "delayed send" -- you will increase your productivity and your ability to serve others.
Although you may be on the phone with a caller for only a few minutes, the caller will be forming an IMPRESSION of you and your organization and deciding whether working with you will be a good or a painful experience. To handle a call professionally, you should work on conveying the following messages:
WHY PHONES HAVE A BAD REPUTATION
In a recent survey 564 business people were asked what IRRITATED them most about the way a business call is answered. The responses were:
MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION
To improve your company's initial IMPACT with callers:
LEAVE AN EFFECTIVE MESSAGE
Have your ever checked your voice mail and found you had a message but you couldn't make out the name of the caller or his phone number? Frustrating, isn't it? When leaving a message state (it is important to use this order because some messages cut out after a specified time):
POSITIVE VOICE MAIL TACTICS
Voice mail is so popular now we are surprised when someone actually does pick up the phone. When you set up your voice mail message, keep it strong, upbeat and BRIEF. You have only 10 to 15 seconds to create a favorable impression.
Telephones may not be an exciting new toy, but sloppy usage can cost you productivity and image and reduce your influence. Here are some suggestions for more effective telephone communications:
Jane Watson is dedicated to advancing business communications. She is a consultant, author, keynoter and trainer and can be reached at or (905) 820-9909.
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