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Catch Me If You Can!

by Vikki Nelson

It seems no one is ever at the phone these days. I would estimate that, on average, most of my calls donít get me to the person I am calling. It can be most frustrating and expensive.

And, whatís worse, when I leave a message, I often return to my office and find a like-kind message for me from the person I had tried to reach. Then - you know what I am going to say - I call back and low and behold that person is gone again. So I leave a message, back to the future!

Maybe a few hints would help you in this same situation that I have found myself in:

* Before making a call, know your own schedule so that if you have to leave a message you can say exactly when you will be available. Maybe even leave an exact time for a return call. And follow through. Be where you said you were going to be, if at all possible.

* If you reach a real person, perhaps a secretary, ask them for a specific time that your person will be available, politely. Donít be hesitant to ask for your personís schedule. Be persistent and precise, because it is important to both of you involved.

* Many times you donít really have to talk with that particular PERSON. There may be someone else that can really help you if you let the person that answers the phone know what you are calling about.

* Naturally, use email and faxes when at all possible. This will allow the other person to respond fairly quickly.

* But, if you urgently need to talk with that PERSON and seem to fall into a seemingly endless maze of telephone tag, call the companyís main number and have your person paged and/or get someone to find him personally.

Our time is valuable and we have to use it to our best ability, otherwise we run out of it. It doesnít matter what kind of work you are involved in - be it construction, advertising, cleaning service, etc. - everything is governed by time and we better use it wisely.

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