Throughout the day, a lot of us make many a phone call. Not all of them are productive. In some jobs, the phone is also a basic communication tool, turning calls and the way we manage them into something decisive for our projects and results. At the end of the month, we will have made a lot of calls. Imagine, after a year, the amount of time you spend on the phone. For all that, we have compiled seven tips to make the most of your phone calls. Take notes and be more productive:
1. Think before you call
Before dialing the phone number, take a moment and think. Consider if a phone call is the best option. Sometimes it is the quickest way to solve an issue, but be aware that it may be a bad time for the other person, or may not be as urgent as it could have looked at first. If so, think and decide if you can solve it with an email or a properly planned meeting. Do not waste your time and others’ time with unproductive phone calls.
2. Set a time
As we have already mentioned, be aware that you may make your call at a bad time for the other person. The best way to avoid wasting our time, as well as the other person’s time, is to make sure he or she will be available to us. Decide on a day and a time and set a fixed appointment on your calendar so you can take a few minutes and prepare the phone call in advance.
3. Make notes and prepare you calls
It is always advisable to be sure about what you want to get from the phone call you are making. You need to prepare it a bit before picking up the phone; write down on a piece of paper the key points you intend to make so you won’t forget them. It is recommended that the most important thing be the first thing to be discussed, so that less important points can be dealt with more quickly should the call need to be shortened. Also write down those “taboo” topics or anything you do not want to mention so you will have it present during the conversation.
4. Set the pace
Time flies, and when we’re on the phone, we are the less aware of it. So as not to spend more time than necessary on a call and avoid going off on a tangent, there is nothing easier than having a clock to calculate the time. Another good option for efficiency is a timer or a “countdown”, which most current smartphones have incorporated.
5. Have pen and paper close by
Besides making a note of the key points you want to discuss in a conversation, have something to write on nearby once you start the call. You will likely interchange data, figures, dates, names, etc., which will be impossible to memorize for a mere mortal being. Avoid having to make a second and annoying call for clarification or to confirm data, and write down everything that will help you remember and reproduce the conversation later. It’s always better to use a notebook instead of the computer, since the sound of the keyboard can distract your interlocutor and give a wrong impression (disinterest, dullness).
Once you start the call, stay focused and avoid unnecessary distractions. Often, while we’re on the phone, we make the mistake of checking our email, browsing a website, or even looking at the phone… If you have properly prepared the call, no further looking up will be needed, so “disconnect” everything else while you speak, be in a place where no one will interrupt you and you will make a productive call.
7. Think again!
Allow me to insist. For the call to be really productive, you have to keep in mind what your goal is and how to start the conversation so that, on the other side of the line, the person who is picking up will be receptive. If we know what we want to make of the call, we will avoid superfluous and unnecessary chatting that will lead us away from our goal. Don’t talk about the weather, get to the point; be productive. Check your notes.