Steps to Management Success – Step 138: Know the Xs and Os of a Phone Call Before You Make It

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 15th, 2010


Know the Xs and Os of a Phone Call Before You Make It

Prior to making telephone calls that will involve major, complex, or compound issues, write a list of all the items you would like to cover. During telephone conversations, it’s easy for the parties’ focus to be interrupted or diverted and for important issues to be overlooked or inadequately addressed. Preparing a list that you can follow as an agenda will make your phone calls more productive.

WHAT IT MEANS: Since e-mail is now the preferred method of communication, telephone calling has taken on a different role. It’s now reserved primarily for situations in which e-mail may not be most efficient. Frequently, phone calls are preferable for important conversations that involve negotiations or when you want to make voice contact in order to stress critical points or leave no doubt that particular information has been delivered and properly understood. Deals are often closed, problems solved, and disputes settled during telephone calls.

ACTION PLAN: Draw up your list before you call, preferably the night before. Then review it the next morning and make all necessary changes. Before placing your call, e-mail your list to the other party. Explain that these are the items you wish to discuss, so he or she can prepare. Sending your list can steer the conversation toward more efficient and productive results.

EVEN BETTER: If you e-mail prior to a call, ask the other party to address any issues that don’t require discussion in an e-mail reply. Then you won’t have to cover them during your telephone conversation. If agreements are reached during your call, summarize them in a confirming e-mail and promptly send it while what you agreed upon is still fresh in your minds.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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