If you have read any of my posts before you know how I feel about Time Management. Basically, I believe that since you cannot control time, it’s difficult to manage it, but you CAN manage how YOU use time.
Those persons who work outside of the home, or who did so in the past know how interruptions from co-workers, phone calls, an unplanned meeting and vists from co-workers who always seem to have less work to do than you can derail your schedule for what you hoped to accomplish that day. Working from home can present similar challenges: an unexpected call from your child’s school, phone calls – related or unrelated to work, or your neighbor who ‘knows you’re home’ and stopped by to chat.
How do you manage phone calls so they do not interrupt your flow of thought or work? This is especially challenging for those of us who are in Direct Sales or any kind of sales as we know that our clients expect to speak with us directly when they call. Recently I found that a number of my clients no longer leave messages, they just hang up and expect that I’ll see their number and return the call. Has this happened to you? How do you handle that?
To avoid the vicious cycle of phone tag, voice mail funnel or as one author describes it “voice mail hell” following are five tips:
1) On your outgoing voice mail, let people know when you will return calls. You could choose to mention that you are in your office and will return calls between ___ and ___ or you could just say that you are on the other line and will return calls between a stated time period. When you reach a voice mail leave a message with the best time for the person to return your call.
2) Schedule specific call times and work at sticking to it.
3) When you reach your caller, practice good telephone manners by asking if this is a convenient time for your caller to talk. It can be frustrating to start a conversation and outline what you’re calling about then to be told by the person you called that they are busy and be asked if they can call you back. You should also indicate to the person you’re calling that your time is limited, but you wanted their input or response on the reason for your call.
4) If you are annoyed it will be reflected very loudly in your voice. Before you pick up the phone, smile! The person who receives the call or the voice mail message will have a totally different feeling than if your voice radiates annoyance. Their response to you will also be more favorable.
5) Have you ever tried listening to a long, rambling voice mail? Make you voice mail as brief, but as concise as possible and don’t forget to include the best time you can be reached.
Yvonne Jones is a home-based Entrepreneur and Direct Sales Consultant who works with small business owners and entrepreneurs to build and maintain relationships with their clients through regular communication. To learn more about how this can be done easily and effectively, visit her website at http://cardsuccesscircle.com.
She also partners with women to develop a skin care program to meet their specific needs. To learn more, visit her blog at http://www.yvonneajones.com