How to get better at….

 In Unimenta Blog

… speaking on the phone!

 Really? We need to learn this – you bet we do! We use our phones for everything except for making an actual phone call. Yet sometimes a phone call may just be the very best thing to do – the power of the human voice is still important and perhaps more important than ever.
When was the last time you made a phone call? Chances are most of your communications are by messaging, text and email. Phone calls can feel awkward and intrusive. Whereas people once received and made calls with friends on a regular basis, we now coordinate most outings and social events via e-mail or text.
It’s becoming common now in the workplace to make phone call appointments. When you do see people talking on their Smart phones, headphones on, the calls seem to be overly loud, mundane and stuff no one else wants to hear. I know I, personally, avoid making calls in public.
More often than not, when I do make an unscheduled phone call I get voicemail. On top of this the chances that the receiver will actually listen to my voicemail are also slim.
Why is this? When most people see a voicemail from someone they do know, they either text the person back quickly or they’ll immediately call the person back. They still don’t listen to the message. What most people want is to feel is that they’re in control. When you take a phone call or listen to a voicemail, it can feel a little unpredictable. When someone calls you, you don’t know if it’s going to be a short confirmation, or if it’s going to be a 30-minute conversation that significantly detracts from everything else you’re working on. People want to be in control of themselves and their own schedule. We are using the phone less and less.
It has become so easy to hide behind email, text and messaging. That might be great for lots of things but no good at all for conveying warmth and it is warmth that is essential for building trust and what I often don’t hear any more when I unwillingly have to listen to others on their phones. When miscommunication happens in texts and emails it’s not random.It’s usually as a result of reacting too fast and it’s probably the same for actual calls too. If you want to build relationships, aside from meeting face-to-face, the telephone is going to be one of the best mediums to use if you are using it well. And responding in the moment is good as it encourages us to be more present, more real and activates that part of our brain which supports this. Use the phone more and you’ll avoid misunderstandings and be more productive.
So – how to get better at making that call?
1. Overcome your natural resistance to make that call in the first place – this is now the norm especially for Millennials. If what you are wanting to communicate is important then ask the other person for a time slot when you can call them rather than putting everything into a message or email.
2. Know why you want to make the call – think in advance about what you want to achieve or why you want to discuss something in more detail. Be ready to initiate those points and how you might raise them.
3. Keep you tone warm – your voice is powerful and remember that on the phone you still have fewer physical clues so your voice becomes even more important. Smiling while speaking really does work.
4. Listen just the same as you would do face-to-face – you may need to vocalise this more as the other person cannot see you. So use lots of affirming language – yes, uh huh, I see and nod even if this can’t be seen!
5. Mind your p’s and q’s – be polite – greet the other person warmly, thank them for their time, check that it’s still a good time to talk before launching in. Keep the call brief and clear and, if you like, follow up with a lovely email thanking them again and summarising any points or actions agreed.

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