Many recent studies have shown that despite the multitude of communications
technologies now in every day use, it is actually becoming more
difficult to get in touch. Anyone who has ever experienced the frustration
of "telephone tag" will certainly find that easy to believe.
When trying to publicize an event, contact the media or respond
to a crisis, the difficulties of getting in touch with the right
people may seem insurmountable. Here are a few practical steps which
make communication easier:
Take a moment to ameliorate your attitude: if you are furious every
time you reach a message it will show in your voice. Voice mail
can be a useful tool if approached thoughtfully.
Give some thought to what you want to say in a message before you
call. Don't get caught stumbling for words once the tone has sounded.
Make your message brief yet complete. Enunciate your name and number,
followed by your reason for calling. This can be especially useful
as it gives the message recipient notice of what to prepare when
returning the call. A stranger's name and number is unlikely to
motivate someone to call back. You may wish to give some time parameters
- "Please call me before 5pm Tuesday. I will try you again
Wednesday at 9:30 am." You are providing information on the
urgency of your request and also letting them know that you will
try them until you get in touch. Conclude your message by restating
your name and phone number.
If you leave a call-back time, make sure you are in the office.
Consider giving a more precise time (rather than simply "during
business hours") and avoid a frustrating day of back and forth
Think about some alternatives when you cannot reach an individual.
Is there someone else in the organization who could fulfill your
needs? Perhaps a receptionist or executive assistant can tell you
when the person is most likely to be available. Seek out different
communication vehicles -- a telephone hater may be contacted via
E-mail, fax or (gasp!) mail.
storefront: Your telephone