The Art of Phoning

Today I was calling a lot of people on the phone because I work part time as a receptionist. It’s funny, all the different people you talk to.

Sometimes, they’re more than happy to be talking to you. Sometimes too happy, and you end up hearing about their cat in England and their son in America and so on so forth.

Other times, you can hear that tinge of annoyance when they ask you to repeat your name and company. It’s like they heard you the first time, they just want another excuse to sigh again.

What I’ve learnt is that you should just be yourself.

When I was seventeen, my grandmother rang the house and I was the only one home. We had a decent chat for five minutes or so when she suddenly asks me how my fiancé is going.

If there’s one thing you should know about me right now, it’s that I’ve never had a fiancé.

My sister, in the other hand, was very much engaged and with fiancé at time of said phone call with grandmother.

My grandmother and I were too into the conversation though, so I felt I couldn’t say anything. So I went along with it.

I giggled and said my fiancé is great, the wedding planning is great, my job is going great. We had another decent conversation about my future as a happily married woman. Except I wasn’t soon to be happily married.

Now, if that were to happen again (three years later) I would just say ‘hey there, it ain’t who you think it is.’

Because talking on the phone today, I noticed that people respond best when I’m just being myself. When I might make an over-excited remark about being on our subscription list or tell them I’m so glad they answered the phone. When I sound happy to them, they warm up to me and what I have to say.

You can’t make everyone warm to you, but I feel better knowing that I did what I could to sound happy to be talking to them, and I really am happy to be talking to them.

I still don’t like the thought of having to make my own dentist appointment, but I no longer get shaky hands when an unknown number rings me, or when I have to enquire about something.

If I’m myself, I feel better about the conversation as a whole. When I’m ringing someone, I no longer care if I have to ask them a million questions. It’s their job to answer them. When someone rings me, I no longer have any problem answering and figuring out what they want, even if it’s a wrong number. No matter who it is, I love saying ‘have a good day!’ and genuinely meaning it, regardless of whether I’m the customer or not.

Just be yourself, even when you really don’t want to make that phone call.

Sarah xx

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