EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Sometimes the phone here are world headquarters gets a little quiet. Several minutes can go by and no one calls. It is enough to get you a little out of practice in answering the phone. So, from time to time I just pick up the phone (even though it isn’t ringing) and say hello to see if my energized greeting is still inside my head. As you know, practice makes perfect.

Being a professional phone person I can tell a lot about the person on the other end of the phone within the first few seconds of the call. I have found that these are the critical nanoseconds when you can easily influence the tone of the conversation to follow. If it sounds like you are in a downer of a mood, I just might want to get off the phone as quickly as possible.

A cheery phone answering style can make the difference between success and failure. If you aren’t in the habit of answering the phone this way, focus on what you are doing and think about whether “you would want to talk to you.”

Hey, everyone who calls isn’t trying to get you to switch your phone service or to buy some product you don’t want. Some of those who call might actually be considering you for a job.

Since you aren’t always at your desk, you might even want to call your answering machine and listen to what it sounds like. Does it invite a second try? Does it sound like someone YOU would want to talk to?

One of the guys I called years ago had a voice mail message that ended with “please be sure to leave a message because that will make it easier to get back to you.” It kind of brought a smile to my face every time I called him. You just had to leave a message and you just had to call him back.

No one in their right mind wants to talk to someone who is going to spoil their whole day. (Okay, maybe they won’t spoil your whole day, but they may put you off your game for an hour or so, and who can afford that?)

This same philosophy applies to the leaving of phone messages.

You should ASSUME that many folks you are trying to reach aren’t going to be there. So, you might want to have the message you need to leave worked out in your head BEFORE you call. Structuring the tone of your message and the details can be difficult. Again, try leaving a message on your own answering machine and listen to yourself. Would you call yourself back?

Keep in mind that old saw that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Your telephone style is often the first PERSONAL impression that others have of you. Be sure to make it a positive one. (They always figure you had a lot of help with your resume, so they discount that.)

Regards, Matt

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