Archive for the ‘Telephone Etiquette’ Category

Service of Power Misunderstood

Thursday, March 30th, 2023


Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay 

The way some people assume postures that they think make them seem powerful often backfires as it irritates and doesn’t impress others.

This dialog might be familiar. Phone rings. The person on the line asks to meet with you so that you can advise them [for free] about your industry, your job, company or clients –you name it. You’re a good soul and you like to help people so you agree. But at the end of the conversation the milk of human kindness sours when the caller says: “Send me a calendar invite please.” Huh? You’re busy and doing a favor and now the caller, who wants something from you, gives you a job. Faux pas.

It happened the other day to a friend.

In another instance, a friend responded to a request for clothing made on an online neighborhood group site. The writer said she had lost everything in a fire. When my friend responded that she had some blouses to give, the person told her where to drop them off. The donor who already juggles too many things daily, had expected that the person would send someone to pick them up or do so herself. I wonder if the blouses will reach the woman in need.

I’ve written before about a peeve of similar stripe. You have a scheduled call, you make it on the dot and the person says “Can you call me back in 20 minutes?” If they are cancelling or moving the time of the call, shouldn’t it be they who calls you when they’ve finished a chore or a meeting or another phone call?

Even if I’m the one in charge of a business relationship, I find that skipping the irritating, superficial power image stuff and being respectful lubricates the dynamics between me and the other person. The result? Usually the best effort. When people feel put down, taken advantage of or simply annoyed they aren’t working at their best for you nor are they feeling cooperative if you’ve asked a favor of them. Your thoughts?

Image by G.C. from Pixabay

Service of Why

Monday, June 27th, 2016

I ask questions in every post and the question word also appears in a few titles. Today I share some unrelated observations and ask WHY:

  • Do you think a mother pushing a stroller gave her young child a tablet to stare at when there was plenty to look at on the street between the traffic, other pedestrians, store windows and dogs passing by?  The child was so little—around one–and the screen so large that he could hardly hold the device that was crammed in between his legs and the stroler. We weren’t near each other for very long but while we were, not a word passed between them.
  • Do I go to the right in some elevators and to the left in others to reach the floor control buttons and inevitably, my instinct sends me the wrong way? Why aren’t these buttons installed universally either left or right?
  • Do telemarketers hire people who mumble? I asked one last week—an American—to repeat what he’d said. The phone volume was fine, I clearly heard the end of his intro—“and how are you today?”—yet totally missed who he represented or the reason for his call. He slurred his words while repeating, at 200 mph, what he’d uttered countless times before. When I couldn’t decipher or isolate a single word on the second go-‘round, I hung up.
  • Do companies require their live operators/receptionists to answer the phone with a ridiculously long greeting—and not because the name of the firm is of the “Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith” variety–thus wasting everyone’s time?
  • Do some general call-in numbers never work? Take 511. I access it to confirm train schedules and to learn if the railroad is running from upstate NY to NYC, and not a substitute bus. [If a bus, passengers must arrive at the station 40 minutes before scheduled departure time. Miss the bus and you wait two hours for the next one. And the website isn’t always accurate.] From upstate, the electronic voice on the phone announces I’ve reached information for the Hudson/Catskill region. So far, so good. After that, whether I respond to prompts with my voice or by punching numbers on the phone, I end up with Long Island bus or NYC subway schedules and for the life of me, I can’t reach an operator or information about the Harlem Line I take.

Do you have answers to any of these or questions you’d like to pose?

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