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Ten Ways To Spend Less Time On The Phone

Copyright (c) 2005-2020

Picture the last hour of a typical work day. Reviewing the dayís activities, youíre shocked to discover how much time you spent on the phone. Even as youíre adding up the number of calls, the phone rings again. By now, youíre not in a receptive frame of mind. Here goes another twenty or thirty minutes, you suppose. Meanwhile, you can hardly see your desk for the uncompleted paper work.

During the twenty-three years I spent in management, I struggled to find ways to reduce the time I talked on the phone. Iím glad to share my ten most beneficial tips with you.


-- One: Budget (yes, budget) your phone time.

With six calls to make, allow yourself no more than thirty minutes to complete all six of them. Obviously, this constraint will discipline you to get to the point, cover the point and make an exit.


-- Two: As Iíve just indicated, batch your calls.

Instead of scattering them throughout the day, make your six calls consecutively. Youíll shift into a telephone mood, comparable to what athletes call the zone. The second call becomes easier than the first, the third call even easier. Your efficiency escalates, and you accomplish more sooner.


-- Three: Rely on e-mail more consistently.

This is my favorite way to avoid phone tag. E-mail allows us to send messages at our most convenient time. Too, weíll probably use fewer words (and time) than we would use by phone.

-- Four: Make calls from your cell phone (if you can handle the phone safely while driving).

Tell someone: Hi, Ted, Iíve got a couple of minutes to chat as Iím driving into downtown Atlanta. Say that, and you will trigger them to get to the heart of the call instantly.


-- Five: Outline what you intend to cover in your call.

The outline keeps you from rambling, and from having to call again to cover an item you forgot to mentionóembarrassing as well as time consuming. Ordinarily, I use a key word outline that resembles a grocery list. For example, in calling to get details about my next speaking engagement, my notes might include: time, duration, microphone, handouts, number attending, introducer, convention theme.


-- Six: Ask a colleague to interrupt you after ten minutes if you havenít hung up by then.

So when the co-worker enters your office you can say, quite honestly, that your assistant has signaled that he needs your attention, so weíll have to conclude for now.


-- Seven: Delegate outgoing calls to others who can make them as well as you can.

With good judgment, we can assign more calls than we are in the habit of assigning. Remain alert, of course, to identifying those instances when a personal call from you is irreplaceable.


-- Eight: When youíre leaving for two hours or two days, give staff members the information thatís necessary to satisfy callers youíre expecting.

Say, for example: When Judy Johnson calls, ask her if we can change her committee meeting from Wednesday morning to Thursday afternoon. This way, Judy hears what you want her to hear, and thatís one less call for you to return.


-- Nine: Call people just before lunch and just before closing time.

I guarantee they wonít be longwinded then.


-- Ten: Make a summary statement and bid farewell:

Barbara, itís my understanding that you have given me permission to exceed two or three budget items as long as I stay within the total departmental budget. Thanks for the clarification. Thatís all I needed to know. Goodbye.


Those are my top ten tips for callers. They work. Use them consistently, and the phone can become more your ally than your enemy, saving time instead of stealing time.


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Bill Lampton, Ph.D., has shared his expertise in communication, motivation, customer service and sales with a diverse client list. He wrote a popular book: The Complete Communicator: Change your Communication, Change Your Life! Visit his Web site: http://www.ChampionshipCommunication.com Call Dr. Bill Lampton at 770-534-3425 or 800-393-0114. E-mail him: mailto:drbill@ChampionshipCommunication.com

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