From the ingenious minds who brought you “Hey, Don’t Touch That” and “How To Not Treat Customers Like a Jerk”… for one special night the Holiday Inn Express presents, “Why Did I Say That?”. This free seminar, available for tonight only, will teach you proper phone etiquette and how to leave a voicemail like a professional. This one hour course will cover such topics as:
- Do not combine their first and last name when addressing them in a voicemail. For example, when leaving a message, it is appropriate to begin the message with a friendly, “Hello, Denise Shepherd”, not “Hello, Denipherd”. That is inappropriate (and just plain weird). Even if you know that this person’s personal friends use a similar word-smush as a nickname for the individual, you have not earned that level of comfort. You do not know this person and addressing them as “Denipherd” has now served to insult the person who you wish to return your call (don’t hold your breath).
- Do not assume they know who you are, LEAVE YOUR NAME! Just because you know who they are does not mean the professional you are calling on the other line knows you. Give your name and your reason for calling.
- Speak clearly and keep it short. The professional you are hoping to connect with is most likely a relatively busy person. With that in mind, there is no need to tell them your life history, your future goals or what you named your pet fish in high school (yes, Billy is a very fitting name for a beta fish). Don’t waste their time! Tell them why you are calling, ask specific concise questions and move on!
- Do not reask the same question in feebly reframed phrases, once is enough. Once you have received the answer to your question do not badger the person in the hopes that asking the same question in a different way will result in them giving you the answer you really wanted. All it does is piss them off and make them want to hang up on you as quickly as possible.
- Say “Thank You”. When you are concluding your phone conversation or ending your voicemail, be sure to that the individual on the other end for taking the time to talk to you. Your mother was right, good manners ARE important.
- Do not use any pet names or salutations when addressing the individual over the phone. When speaking to the other person, refrain from calling them ‘honey’ or ‘sweetheart’, ‘champ’ or ‘buddy’. They are none of those things. The only salutation appropriate for this sort of conversation would be Ms. or Mr., as appropriate.
All these invaluable tips and many more! RSVP today and we’ll see you tonight in the Sea Wall ballroom (next to the indoor pool).
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: I have a very serious question to ask you all… have people lost their freaking minds? Has common decency and basic etiquette just POOF! Flown the coop? Have we arrived at such a time in our society where simple expectations like how to speak to a stranger in a professional setting has somehow gone the way of the dinosaur? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills! OK, sorry… anywho… I work in a university. In addition to about a million other responsibilities, I advise students, take calls and answer emails, usually inquiries about the doctorate program for which I serve as the academic coordinator. You would think the people I deal with would be relatively educated, capable, well-informed individuals who have their ish together, after all, this is graduate school. For the most part, the people I talk to are very nice and usually very eager to do exactly as I tell them (yeah… that’s right, chicks’ got power) but every so often (and by that I mean everyday) I get a call/visit/email that just knocks the air out of me… with its sheer stupidity/ridiculousness. Today, during an advising session, my phone rang and I allowed it to go to voicemail. After my appointment left, I dialed into my voicemail and was completely unprepared for the message that greeted me. The meat of the message was uninteresting; it was the beginning and end that really stuck with me. The message was left by what sounded to be an older woman (and by older I mean not the typical 22-year-old I primarily encounter) and she began her message to me by saying, “Hello Samoya!”. Wha?!? Samoya? Really? Did you just combine my first and last name together and then call me something that sounds like a type of dog or Girl Scout cookie (never mind that this is actually a nickname I’m called by certain friends)?
OK, so maybe she was nervous or something and this just popped out of her mouth. I’m forgiving, so I let it slide and listen to the rest of the message. Just as I’m giving her a pass, she ends the message by saying, “OK, thanks so much, sweetheart.” SWEETHEART? Who the heck do you think you are, lady? I don’t know you from Adam, and you’re going to call me sweetheart? Like I’m some chickadee filling in for her mommy until she can come back to the phone? I immediately felt degraded, marginalized and… pissed. And oops! Message deleted. Sorry, sweetheart.
Love & Squirrels.