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Phone Etiquette for “Generation Me”

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You may own a phone, but do you really know how to use it?

 

According to many sources discussing generations and talks of the “generation gap,” I am referred to as a Millennial — typically someone born in the years between 1980-2000.

 

Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

Then, you’ve got Generation X, Baby Boomers, and now there is something called Generation Z. This article from Elissa Freeman says Millennials are the “mixmasters” with a creative spirit to get things done. While we have been called Generation Me, Millennials “get” technology and are determined to succeed.

 

Forbes ran an article talking about the “Boomer-Millennial Workplace Clash,” and how the difference between generations can play into workplace dynamics. Each generation has something to learn from the others in the workplace.

 

But a most recent article in The Wall Street Journal caught my attention. It highlighted the fact that while Millennials are tied to their smartphones and have probably mastered most of the photo, video and social media technologies popular today, one thing we don’t do as much of in the workplace — picking up the phone.

 

We are much more familiar and in favor of texting, email and online chatting. And in some instances, that may hurt sales or client relationships. While email and texting certainly has its place and can be beneficial in business, there is something to be said for the personal touch and rapport established with talking to a client on the phone or in person.

 

So, what are some steps to get better at phone calls? Check out these tips from Drake Baer at Fast Company.

 

  1. Get prepared. Sketch out the points you’d like to cover, the “ask” that you’re making and how much time you have.
  2. Open with banter. Start soft before you dive into your pitch. It’s an easy way to build empathy and co-investment.
  3. Be explicit. Transition to the matter at hand, and let the other person know specifically what it is. They can’t read your mind, even over the phone.
  4. Don’t monologue. A phone call is a dialogue. Pause your pitch to ask if they’re with you and maybe gather some feedback.
  5. Know your “ask.” Your one “ask” should be obvious and easily achievable.
  6. Know the relationship. Don’t ask for a big favor unless you have a tight relationship.
  7. Know the timeline. Assume this won’t be the only time in your life you’ll talk to them, so you don’t need to fit everything into a single conversation.
  8. Keep it short. Your reputation is the sum of the interactions people have with you. If you’re known as the person who’s always long winded, you’re less likely to get the next few calls on the calendar. Less is better.
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