There is nothing worse than not knowing whom you are talking to. When I call someplace and I ask for someone and they are actually the person that answered the phone, there is always this second of awkwardness. If they’d just indicated their name when they answered the phone I’d know so I didn’t ask for them. It also allows me to be more personable. When someone answers “Hi, Agency XYZ, Jane speaking”, I can be say “Hey Jane, you were just the person I was looking for,” or “Hi Jane, is Cindy around?” It is kind of like noticing the nametag of the teller at the grocery store and saying “Thank you Dave for helping me out.”
I now want to be friendly and inviting, not stiff and professional
Recently it was bugging me again and with a little contemplation, I began to answer incoming calls simply with “Hi, it’s Kathy.” And I smile a little bit when I say it. It feels more me.
The other day the receptionist called to sort out some details regarding our upcoming bathroom renovations and to schedule the plumber. I chipperly answered “Hi, it’s Kathy” and caught her off guard!
Her comment to me was “You sounded so upbeat, I thought it was an answering machine!” Well now, doesn’t that just say something about the state of the world? The only time we sound like we are in a good mood is when we “fake” it to record our message on our voice mail!
We aren't present when we answer the phone
What it says to me is that we probably aren’t very present when we answer the phone. We are probably in the middle of something and the phone is a distraction, an inconvenience and possibly a signal of more work coming down the pipe. I envision people actually sighing before they say hello or tensing up prior to answering the phone. As a result, their voice is anything less than chipper.
Consider two things
If you are in the middle of something, you could finish what you are doing or get to a more reasonable pause point before returning a call. There is this fancy thing on most phones that allow you to shut the ringer off! Use it once in a while. In most cases, it won’t be the end of the world if you don’t answer the phone. I promise!
Transition points happen when we shift from one thing to another. I remember getting the kids ready for bed at night when they were little. We’d always give them a bit of a warning that bedtime was coming soon. It allowed them to finish physically and emotionally what they were doing before shifting into bedtime.
We don’t often give ourselves those transition points any more. Simply pausing and taking a breath before answering the phone is often enough time to shift from what you were doing to the person on the other end of the line.
And don’t forget to smile! Even thought they can’t see it, they can feel it and so can you!
I lead a full life full of love, adventure and growth. Check out my latest thoughts here.
And if you want to know more about me check out my personal blog at www.kathyarchersblog.com
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