Clients & Customers,  Coaching,  Communication,  Entrepreneurs,  Productivity

Getting That Phone Call That Might Scare You!

Have you ever had a day when you’re at your desk and really engaged with what you’re working on, and then it happens – your mobile phone rings?

And if you’re like me with my somewhat loud ring, it scares the bejeezus out of me! And yep, just in time for Halloween – muahahaha. (Yeah, I know I ought to change that ring, but I just love that song…)

Once I’m composed, I grab the phone to see who’s calling while that voice in my head says, “Oh my goodness, I hope no one’s died?”

When I recognize the caller as a client, that voice inside my head starts…“Oh no, did I forget to do something I promised, and that’s why my client’s calling me?

”Or my mind goes to that terrible place – “Oh no, did I do something wrong?”

Or if I’m in a better place, it says, “What did I do right?”

What’s all this scary phone ringing, voices in my head about? (I can tell you, it doesn’t have anything to do with Halloween!)

When did my mobile phone ringing become a situation where that voice inside my head starts thinking these things above?

I was on a Zoom call with a client earlier in the week, and while we were talking, her phone rang.

She asked me to hold on cuz it was a call from a client she normally doesn’t hear from, and she was concerned and needed to take it.

Then later in our call, she needed to reach out to another client, and the question came up, does she reach out to her client in a text or email?

This often got me thinking that we might be in a communication quandary. And I think we are in dire need of communication tools etiquette because we have too many ways to communicate now, and we also need some boundaries.

And I want to share how this also applies to going to someone’s house unannounced.

When did that become a no-no?

I’m on a call with a client, and my doorbell’s ringing, and I’m thinking to myself, “who is ringing my doorbell during the day?” Maybe it’s a neighbor who’s having an emergency, or one of my dogs got out…”

So I tell my client to please excuse me for a minute. I answer the door. And it’s my next-door neighbor who just wanted to ask me a question about our shared fence. What?

He has my number. He could have just called or texted me. Why did he have to come to my door and speak to me in person?

Hence, we need some communication tools and etiquette, or what I’m calling the Communication Tools Method. This can apply to any communication, BTW, to clients, family, colleagues, etc.

There are a couple of things to consider:

1. What’s the content (message) that needs to be communicated?

2. What’s the urgency Level – On a scale of 1 – 5? 1 – Not At All Urgent to 5 – Extremely Urgent.

Then you need to consider the best way this content (message) needs to be communicated.

Below is a list of the core communication tools you can use. This is how I’d rank them from 1 – Not At All Urgent to 5 – Extremely Urgent: (Note: This might not be an exhaustive list. It’s the ways I would use to communicate.)

– US Post Office Mail (I was tempted also to add a tin can and string
. 🙂
– EmailFacebook/Instagram
– Private Message
– Slack (or other communication tools like Discord)
– What’s App (I use this for all my international clients.)
– Phone text
– Phone Call
– Ringing Their Doorbell (This is not the norm – only in the context of your neighbor’s dogs lost or their house is on fire, etc. 🙂

Let’s give this method a go with these examples—You’re finishing up a project for a client, and you want to ask them what they thought about your work together and follow up by asking for a referral.

So how do you reach out to them?

I would send them an email unless they’ve given me instructions about their preferred communication method.

This leads me to an important point— when you’re working with a client, ALWAYS ask THEM how THEY prefer you communicate with them. (You could also use this for immediate family.)

AND, then, you share with them YOUR preferred method of communication.

You can even use the tools above to help guide you.

It’s also about being thoughtful and considerate of someone else’s time and valuing it as well as your own.

For all the clients I work with, I tell them my preferred way to communicate. If they have a question or need something, don’t email me. I want them to text or call me.

I only check my email twice a day because I write so much, and I want to be able to stay in an uninterrupted flow.

You can set up these boundaries, too, so you can be productive.

In next week’s email, I will share some of my best tools and strategies to reduce distractions and help you set up other boundaries to be more productive.

I hope you had a ghoulish, ghastly, spine-tingling, macabre, and howling Halloween. (See what I did there? I got the top 5 spookiest English words in one sentence!)

Here’s to more productivity and Halloween candy, lots of candy.

And below are some choice shots from this week. Check out Emma, who always seems to pose for the camera. She loves looking out the window and watching all the trick-or-treaters.

We also had some amazing sunrise photos from our deck. We always get beautiful sunrises in the fall and winter as it gets colder and into the rainy season. (Fingers crossed for rain.)
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