EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Can you hear me now?

One of my favorite commercials of all time was Verizon’s cell phone commercial. I actually didn’t like it, but because it is so well known I use it as a point of humor when talking to those I call and who call me when their cell phone connection fades in and out.

Honestly folks, if you have to take or make an important phone call, don’t do it on a cell phone.

I could be wrong, but years ago it was actually possible to interrupt those who called you. Not to say rudely interrupt, but rather to get a word in edgewise. Phone service just doesn’t seem to duplex as well as it used to. My guess is that the use of wireless phones of all sorts has made phone communication easier and harder all at the same time. Sure you can walk around the room when you are talking on the phone, but you need to be aware that breathing once in a while is important. If you don’t pause from time to time that poor person on the other end has no way to tell you to stop. I have even tried shouting into the phone and that doesn’t seem to work either.

I hope this doesn’t sound like a litany of complaints tonight, but I recently had “one of those days” of non-stop trying to answer email and talking on the phone. And, since you have “gotten me started” I thought I would add a few additional thoughts about our two primary means of communication – the phone and email.

Have you called yourself recently? No, I am not suggesting you talk to yourself. I am suggesting you try each and every one of the phone numbers you have listed on your resume or email and see what it sounds like or looks like.

I have had several instances of trying to reach those who have left me a message the past several days who gave me a work phone number without their extension. While there is nothing more fun than “running the high hurdles” of your company’s phone system – “Please enter the name of the person you would like to reach, last name (or first name sometimes) using the keypad. Do you want” — well, you get the idea. Then they connect you and 9 times out of 10 still don’t share the extension number with you so when you call back you have to run the high hurdles again!

Then there are the messages at homes or cell phones that tell me what number I dialed. Sorry, but I generally know what number I dialed. What I need to know is did I reach the right person? Go ahead, be a man or woman of mystery.

Now a short gripe session on email. Have you written to yourself lately? You ought to try it and see what it looks like. In fact, write to yourself and then reply to yourself and see what a mess it is. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Now I said, don’t get me started didn’t I? We must once again turn our attention to OUTGOING SIGNATURES! (Sorry, but in the context of pet peeves, this is always my number one.) Friends, if you want to hear back from people, are you signing your e-mail “Jack?” For me, this just isn’t going to help a whole lot. I know several hundred. Some of your other friends may also know a few.

You should also know that I am an impulsive individual and sometimes I actually IMMEDIATELY call those who write to me if they make it easy. Okay, make me (and others) look you up in The FENG membership directory and then complain about why no one ever gets back to you. Call me silly, but you could be partially responsible.

I consider each and every member of The FENG to be a friend, but I must ask as politely as possible: CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? (I have been told that capital letters indicate shouting in email, so I thought I would try it in a Word document.)

Regards, Matt

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