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.