Telephone Techniques: Boost Your Productivity With Effective Phoning

One of the things that most impacts people’s productivity is not being able to focus on completing one task at a time – we are so overloaded with tasks and interruptions that it requires great discipline to avoid spending the entire day responding to other people’s agendas. Telephone calls, both making and receiving them, are one of the greatest disruptions to the flow of the day and to our ability to concentrate on the task at hand. And the use of mobile phones, while a great asset to our business and personal lives, requires a whole new set of communication skills as well as business and social etiquette. By managing how and when we make and receive calls we can not only make better use of our time but make a better impression on the person at the other end of the line, too.

Outgoing Calls

Make a time. Allocate a specific time or times to make your outgoing calls, including return calls to people who have left messages for you. This way you won’t disrupt yourself mid-task to make a call you just remembered you need to make – simply make a note of it and call during the allocated times. You’ll also be better able to focus on the conversation and the needs of the person you are calling when you are focused on the call, rather than trying to fit it in while you’re concentrating on something else.

Think before you speak. Think about the call before you make it – know the reasons why you are calling and what you want to come out of the conversation. Also, think about the timing from the point of view of the person you are calling – consider whether you are calling them at a time when you know they’ll be trying to get out the door, or when they’re likely to be busiest in their own business, and schedule your calls at appropriate times.

Clear your desk. Clear everything from your desk that does not relate to the person you are calling to avoid becoming distracted or tempted to do two things at once. Make sure you have any previous correspondence or materials that you’ll need to refer to on hand.

Identify yourself. Unless you are absolutely certain that the person answering your call will know who you are and where you are from, identify yourself clearly at the beginning of the conversation. If you are contacting the person for the first time it can also be useful to give them a context – it will save both of you any embarrassment and allow the person you are calling to focus on what it is you are saying, rather than wondering who you are, for example: “Good morning Simone, this is Neen James from Neen James Communications calling; you might recall we met at Jennifer’s book launch last week?”

When you say ‘this is’ before stating your name it alerts your caller that you are about to say your name which makes it easier for them to take note, especially if they don’t know you. Take the time to enunciate clearly – there’s nothing worse than when someone speaks too quickly or mumbles and you have to ask again, ‘Sorry, who’s speaking?’

Is this a good time? Another essential phone call opener is to enquire whether you are calling at a convenient time. Many people will answer the phone at even the most inconvenient times, which usually results in their feeling annoyed at you! So ask: “Good morning Simone, this is Neen James from Neen James Communications calling; you might recall we met at Jennifer’s book launch last week? I thought I’d give you a call to further discuss that project we were talking about – is now a convenient time for you?”

Leave a detailed message. If you don’t get through to the person you are calling, leave a detailed message – whether by voicemail or with the person who does answer the phone. Make sure you include the time and date you called, a brief mention of what you are calling about and how and when they can contact you. If you are going to be difficult to catch or have scheduled some time during which you won’t be taking phone calls yourself, by leaving a contact time you can avoid a frustrating game of ‘phone tag’.

Incoming Calls

Answer? Decide whether to answer the call or to let it go through to voicemail. This is not about avoiding people but about ensuring that you don’t answer a call (if you don’t have to) when you know you’re not able to give your full attention to the caller. If you’re in the middle of something and you don’t wish to be interrupted, it’s more polite to allow the caller to leave you a message and make a return call when the timing is better.

Introduce yourself. Answer the call by introducing yourself clearly: “Good morning, Neen James Communicaitons, this is Neen James speaking”, this identifies you and your business to your caller.

Pay attention. If you’ve decided to answer the call, and then decided to carry on with the conversation rather than asking to return the call at a more convenient time – do your caller the courtesy of paying attention. Disinterest or lack of attention can very easily be heard in your voice – as can the typing that you continue to do while making all the right ‘aha’ sounds and the shuffling of paper at your desk. Stop what you are doing and pay attention, or tell the caller you’ll call back later if it’s not a convenient time.

Relax. Speak as though the caller is sitting across the table from you and speak in your usual face-to-face conversational style, rather than in a special ‘telephone voice’.

Smile. It is a proven fact that a smile can be ‘heard’ on the other end of the phone. Your callers will appreciate your friendly approach.

Stand up. Especially if it’s an important call or one you are nervous about, stand up. When you do, it allows more air to circulate through your lungs, your voice will sound more relaxed and maintain an even tone which can also give you an ‘air of authority’.

Keep it short. You’d be surprised how much time is wasted on the phone. There’s nothing wrong with politely managing the conversation, get straight to the point, for example: “Hi Bob, what can I do for you today?”

Thanks for calling. Always end by thanking your caller for calling.

Mobile calls

Leave a message. Provide message bank for your callers. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to contact someone who does not have the courtesy to provide the facility to leave a message when they are unavailable. In your recorded message let callers know when they can expect to hear from you, for example: “Please leave a message and I will return your call within 24 hours”. Taylor make your messages according to your travel plans or holidays to notify callers when you will be returning.

If you call a mobile phone are diverted to message bank – leave a message. The person you are trying to reach may only be available to check their messages and return calls at a certain time, if you don’t leave a message they won’t be able to call or SMS you and you’ll become frustrated at not being able to contact them.

Clear your messages. Clear your message bank regularly and make return calls or send SMSs to people who have left messages for you within an appropriate period of time.

Turn if off. There must be a lot of people who don’t realise that mobile phones have ‘off’ buttons! Switching off your mobile at certain times is a demonstration of courtesy and respect for the people you are with or the place you are in. In meetings and seminars, at meals, in church, at the theatre, movies or other public places – turn it off. Your callers will be able to leave you a message and you can return the call at a more appropriate time.

Do it in the lift. Get into the habit of turning your phone to silent mode or switching off your phone in the lift on your way to a meeting, and switching it back on to check your messages in the lift on the way out of the meeting. This simple ritual will save you the embarrassment of your phone ringing during an important meeting. If you are expecting a call that you absolutely must take, explain that you are waiting for the call and may need to be excused when it comes through. Switch your phone to silent and discretely exit the room to take the call when it comes.

Keep it short. Many people are uncomfortable with lengthy mobile phone conversations for a number of reasons – health, privacy and cost among them – so keep it short and to the point.

Can you talk right now? If you are making the call, acknowledge that the person you are calling could be with other people, on the bus, train or driving, or somewhere where they can’t hear you properly or speak loudly – always ask: “Can you talk right now?” before launching into your conversation.

Consider the time. Be considerate about time and, unless there is good reason, don’t contact people on their mobile number outside of business hours.

Who else is there? If you answer a call while you’re in your car, let the caller know you’re driving. If you are on speakerphone and there’s a passenger with you, let your caller know who’s with you to avoid any embarrassing situations and ensure confidentiality.

First things first. Always be professional and considerate. If you decide to take calls when you are with other people, excuse yourself and leave the room but remember the people you are with may feel less important than your caller. Use message bank, silent mode or just switch it off until you are available again.

Hang up and lock up. We’ve all heard horror stories of mobile phones not properly hung up or keypads not locked and the last number called being accidentally dialed – the person inadvertently called is privy to your conversation without you being aware that they are on the line. Ensure your phone is hung up properly and use the keypad lock facility to avoid potential disasters.

Why an Integrated Workplace Safety and Wellness Program Is Best

Employees are a business’s most valuable asset and keeping them safe and healthy should be a priority for any company. Many businesses have a workplace safety program and a wellness program, but the two programs operate independently of one another – but should they? There are some compelling reasons to integrate the two so that employees can benefit from a more global, holistic approach to staying safe and healthy on the job.

To adequately address health and safety issues, companies need to look not only at whether an employee is performing their job safely but whether they’re healthy and fit enough to do their job without a high risk of injury. Issues like obesity, poor physical fitness and inadequate nutrition make it harder for employees to carry out certain tasks in the workplace.

The link between health and safety

According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, people who are obese are at higher risk for occupational health issues and injuries. When obese staff are exposed to chemicals on the job, they’re at higher risk for occupational asthma and heart and lung issues compared to a non-obese person. They’re also at greater risk for ergonomic issues and bio-mechanical problems including carpal tunnel syndrome. If companies focus on workplace safety without addressing the obesity issue, the bigger problem remains. A unified approach that integrates occupational safety measures with wellness initiatives that emphasize good nutrition and weight control provides a more effective solution to the problem.

There’s also the issue of back injuries. Back injuries are one of the most common workplace safety issues, and people who are overweight and physically unfit are at higher risk for injuring their back on the job. Most back injuries occur as a result of lifting objects at work and ergonomic issues. Although it’s not possible to prevent all work-related back problems, integrating wellness with safety by emphasizing regular exercise to strengthen muscles in the lower back can reduce back injuries. Integrating workplace safety and wellness offers a more well-rounded approach to preventing back injuries.

What part does wellness play in safety? Wellness programs that focus on stress reduction, smoking cessation and alcohol and drug-related issues are also important for workplace safety. According to a study published in a Canadian publication called The Daily, smokers are at greater risk for being injured at work compared to non-smokers. Among women, the risk was nearly double. Stress does more than just affect employees psychologically – it increases their risk of being injured on the job. Employees who are under stress at home or at work are distracted and less able to focus on doing their job safely. Integrating stress management into a workplace safety program can help reduce the number of injuries and motivate employees to be more productive. Nutrition is another factor that a workplace safety and wellness program should address. Employees who start their day with only a cup of coffee are more prone to blood sugar drops that can lead to workplace injuries. Good nutrition is an integral part of any safety program.

There’s another benefit of merging wellness and workplace safety. Employees are less likely to participate in programs that address workplace hazards than they are wellness programs that focus on personal benefits. Integrating the two makes it more likely that employees will take part.

The bottom line

Combining workplace safety with wellness has a number of benefits for both employees and employers. Most importantly, it helps to create a safer, healthier and more productive workplace – and that’s something every company should strive for.

Avail Ready Finance For Business Through Quick Commercial Loans

Business people always require finance either for starting a new venture or for expanding the older one. The finance must come to them easy and quick. Considering their urgent requirements, loan product quick commercial loans has been specifically designed. Business people can utilize quick commercial loans for making investments in infrastructure, buying products and services, starting new project or expanding the established one.

Business people are required to furnish some details of their business before the quick commercial loans deal takes place. They are supposed to give audited financial statement of last 3 years in case of starting a new business. For expanding the business, lenders may ask business financial statements, balance and profit-loss statements. Lenders would like details of owners, partners and stockholders of the business as well.

Business persons can avail quick commercial loans either in secured or unsecured form. To take secured quick commercial loans, also called commercial mortgages, borrowers should place commercial property with the lender as collateral. With the loan secured, lenders provide business people quick commercial loans anywhere in the range of £50,000 to £50,000,000. Larger loan will depend on the higher equity in the collateral.

Because of the secured nature of the loan, interest rate remains lower on quick commercial loans which infect can be brought down once the borrower compares different loan packages. The interest rate comes in variable and fixed options. Under fixed rate, interest rate and monthly installments amount are predetermined and borrowers know how much they have to pay and thus they can plan the loan. The interest rate in variable option can change any time according to the market and borrower may be paying higher rate if it goes up.

There is a larger and comfortable repayment period of 12 to 25 years to the borrowers in case of secured quick commercial loans. The loan amount and repayment duration, however, should be chosen carefully keeping one’s financial capacity in mind.

For availing unsecured quick commercial loans, borrowers should produce concrete proof of their repayment capacity and business profile. Credit score of these borrowers counts a lot in settling the loan deal.

Even if you are labeled as bad credit, availing quick commercial loans should be no problem provided you have a plan of loan repayment laid down before the lender to win his confidence. Make efforts to take your credit score closure to acceptable level of 720 in FICCO scale which ranges from 300 to 850. A credit score of 580 and below is considered as bad credit. Have your credit report checked and make it error free and also pay off your easy debts to show improvements in credit score.

Apply for quick commercial loans online as this way, out of numerous loan offers; you can pick up the one having lower interest rate.

Quick commercial loans become an instrument of sound financial health for business people if a lot of thought goes into availing it. Be particular in paying monthly installments at due date.