Time Management: Manage the Telephone

15/03/2023by dang tin0

Manage the Telephone

THE TELEPHONE CAN be an excellent servant or a terrible master—especially if you feel compelled to answer whenever it rings. To achieve maximum productivity, you must put the telephone in its place so that you do not end up a slave to anyone who dials your number. The best way to get control of your telephone calls is to have all of them screened by your administrative assistant; otherwise, put your phone on silent and let calls go to your voice mail. There are few calls or messages that cannot wait until it is more convenient for you to turn your attention to dealing with them.

One of the reasons that we are becoming slaves to the attraction of distraction is curiosity. We can’t stop ourselves from wondering who is sending us a message, or who is on the other end of the phone. The only way to resist this temp- tation to be distracted is for you to turn off the phone com- pletely so that you don’t even hear it ring. Whenever you are meeting with staff and subordinates, or with your boss or with clients, have your calls held. Turn off your cell phone. Allow no interruptions whatsoever. There is seldom anything so important that it will not wait.

Ten minutes of uninterrupted time in conversation with another individual will be more productive than thirty or forty minutes with the phone ringing and being answered throughout your conversation. Later, you can call people back, one after another.

Bunch Your Calls

If you have to make a series of phone calls in the course of the day, make them all at the same time. Carve out a chunk of time where you can turn off every other distraction and only make phone calls to the important people on your list. Write down the name, number, and subject of each person that you need to call.
Schedule phone calls as religiously as you would sched- ule a meeting with your boss. If it is an important call, write out your agenda for the call so that you are working from a list when you are talking to the other person. There are few things as exasperating as getting off an important phone call with a difficult-to-reach person and discovering that you have forgotten to cover an important point because you didn’t write it down.

Be Polite and Professional

When you call another person, always ask, “Is this a good time to talk?” Top executives use this polite and professional phrase to open up a phone call, even prearranged, scheduled phone calls. If an emergency has arisen in the interim, it may not be a good time to talk, after all. If you try to forge ahead with your conversation at that point, the other person will be unable to pay close attention. So always ask, “Is this a good time?” If the other person says it is not a good time, offer to call back later or ask the person to suggest a time that would be more convenient. This is a simple way to show courtesy and respect, and it will be appreciated. Never assume that the other person has the time to talk to you at this moment, no matter what you have arranged earlier.

Avoid Telephone Tag

Do everything possible to avoid playing telephone tag. Set up telephone appointments exactly as you would set up a face-to-face meeting in the office. When you call people, leave a specific time and number at which you would be available. When people call you, and you can’t always speak with them, have your secretary get a call-back time that is convenient for the caller. It should be during hours when you will be in your office or available by telephone so that you can return calls on time.

Use the telephone as a business tool. Get on and off the phone quickly. Get straight to the point. Be polite and friendly, but businesslike and result-oriented. The more precise and prepared you can be about the time and content of your telephone conversation, the more you will get done, faster, and the more productive you will be in every call.

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