We certainly live in interesting times.
On one hand, we have a generation of people walking around with mobile phones glued to their heads or texting incessantly – from their cars, restaurants, meetings, the office and even from their bedrooms – in order to feel ‘connected’ to the outside world, to the extent that it has become incredibly rude, as these same people are not answering their business phones or emails with the excuse that they are ‘too busy.
It has become a common complaint among business people, they are all discussing the incredible rudeness which is permeating society, and people who somehow consider themselves to be too important to return phone calls. The joke being, that most of the time, these are the very same people who were long gone from the office by 5pm, and who don’t return emails or telephone calls at night or on the weekend either.
What are they doing at home which is so important? Watching the latest reality TV show?
But whose to say….
How can someone decide the importance of a call without extending the common courtesy to the caller by actually ringing them back?
Unless the caller has left a detailed message suggesting that there are two options of calling back or not, even then it is good manners to return the call. The recipient, in not returning the call, is behaving in a totally rude and disrespectful manner to the caller – after all, they took the time to call you, and made the effort to find out your details prior to making the call.
We are all bombarded by tele marketeers, however, even in that case, sometimes one can be pleasantly surprised by the nature of the call, and can’t assume to know the subject of the call.
If in fact it is someone tiresome, then tell them politely you are not interested and to please remove your name from their list. Under the law, they are obliged to do so.
I just finished a telephone call with a client who added that people are also complaining a lot about unanswered emails. Although it is not the subject of today, it is equally important to note.
This lady is a Vice President in an R & D company, developers are complaining that their emails are not being responded to by their superiors. If they have to bring a product to market which is beneficial to the entire company’s health, this is not acceptable. They are supposed to be working as a cohesive team.
One funny anecdote which I can happily share is about a gentleman who sells Mutual Funds. He has been calling me for years, and I will never buy his products. However, he has always been excruciatingly polite and pleasant, so I always take his calls. A couple of years ago he called me and his tone was one of glee, he was giggling about having received a VIP invitation from a hardware vendor for a posh lunch in a good restaurant in a boutique hotel in Old Montreal, and they had even included a sample menu…….it was amazing ……he was calling to invite me, stating that he felt that I was probably the one who should go, and inviting me as his guest…..he said that as I had always been so pleasant on the phone, he thought of me and extended the invitation. Yes indeed, I went with him, the guest list was incredible, I was able to network with a lot of very senior industry executives, the food was divine, the company entertaining, and altogether a lovely occasion.
Had I been rude to this man, or assumed what he wanted, I would have missed out.
I was recently involved in the planning and organizing of a party in a private club for some of Montreal’s elite. Company presidents, lawyers, judges, Senior Politicians, Doctors, and a sprinkling of artists.
It is obvious to me why the guests are successful, they all return their phone calls promptly, many of them apologizing if the return call takes over 24 hours.
So, what is it with low-level managers that they somehow think they are too important and too busy to return a call?
In my case, I could be calling for a reference, a technical question, a conference, a fund-raiser, or the job-opportunity of a lifetime..how would they ever know?
So dear reader, what category do you fall into?
We are all busy, it is simply a matter of etiquette….and never assuming that you know the reason for someone else’s phone-call.
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