Tag Archives: phone calls

Please, Know When to Shut Up in Meetings

Here’s a common problem in teleconference meetings: some people just don’t know when to shut up to get a point across.

This includes folks who keep making the same point over and over again, and do not understand the concept of “less is more.”

Although this happens in face-to-face meetings as well, it is more common in virtual meetings because the presenter can’t read his or her audience’s visual cues to know whether they’re still actively listening.

In the spirit of knowing when to shut up, I’ll keep this post short and simple, and show a graph of how I think the audience’s interest level reacts to the presenter’s talking time.

So how do you know where you are on the curve?

That’s not an easy question to answer, but here are three possible cues that you’re going downhill:

  1. Uncomfortable Silence: As in, you hear crickets chirping on the phone.
  2. Someone drops a hint: Such as, “Hey, I think in the interest of time, we should discuss the next topic.
  3. Someone says it: Such as “I think we just abused this point to death and everyone got it the first time you said it, next topic please.

For the love of God, please don’t reply to #3 with “Ok, but just to make sure, I want to repeat this one more time for the entire team…

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7 Parts to the Perfect Voice Message

If you run your own business or manage a team, you probably leave more than a handful of voice messages each day on your clients’ or colleagues’ phones. To make sure that you communicate your message clearly and minimize any miscommunication, you’ll want to make sure you craft the perfect voice message. Here’s a sample with the 7 parts you’ll need:

  1. Greeting: Say their name – it’ll grab their attention and minimize the possibility they think you’re some telemarketer.
  2. Your Info: Say your name as well (and the company you work for if you’re calling a business client). Make sure it’s your full name – too many Peters around.
  3. The Time & Date: Nearly all phone services have the option to retrieve the time you called someone, but no one has the patience to go through that menu, so do the person a favor and tell them when you called in case they got the message later in the day or the next morning.
  4. The Subject: State the reason why you’re calling and what you want to let the person know. Be concise – no one wants to hear a life story here.
  5. The Action Item: Do you want them to call you back ASAP? Then say so. Do you want them to listen to an FYI (For Your Information)? Then say so. Do you want them to do something for you like create a report and send it before the next day? Then say so. Always have an action, or state a lack thereof.
  6. Your Number: Even if you don’t think the person you’re calling should call you back, always leave your number – they might need it. E-N-U-N-C-I-A-T-E and speak slowly. You can also mention when it’s best to call you back and the time zone you’re in if you have a preference.
  7. Your Number Again: Chances are that even though you spoke slowly the first time, the person would have fondled to find a pen and missed writing your number down anyway. Although they can replay the voice message to hear it again, you’ll win major cool points if you repeat it for them at the end.
 

No one has the patience to go through the option menu to retrieve the time and date you called, so do the person a favor and tell them when you called. This puts things into context if multiple voice messages have been left.